Inside Politics

State warned not to turn family homes into pubs through new regulations

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 00:00 |

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MEASURES: Bar and restaurant owners have warned that new measures targeting consumption of alcoholic beverage will increase cost of doing business by adding pain to Sh15 billion lost by June 2020 on Covid-19 shocks.

Through Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (Perak), the investors said even before they settle down to re-open their businesses under health protocols issued by the government, the same government has released a fresh list of rules bound to worsen their financial situation.

Their concern follows Tuesday’s move by the Health ministry to publish a draft legal notice to bar sale of alcohol to sit-in patrons at restaurants, eateries, bars, food courts, entertainment joints and public places.

Pubs, Entertainment, Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) chairperson Alice Opee termed the move untenable.

“If the proposals are approved, it means the only place where alcohol can be consumed is in people’s homes.

This goes against the spirit of the alcoholic drinks in the presence of children,” said Opee.

The draft rules limit operating hours for businesses that sell alcohol to between 9am and 7.30pm, and places a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both for those who shall flout them.

Opee said the new measures would force the majority of the workforce in the sector that supports more than 1.8 million people directly and indirectly, back home further worsening the economic troubles they have just started recovering from.

She reiterated that the protocols on re-opening of the tourism sector included eateries and restaurants and not bars, discos and entertainment joints.

Opee said there have been few isolated incidents of the breach of laws that have been highlighted in social, print and broadcast media, and these can be recorded in any sector.

“They should not be used for collective punishment of the entire sector. Offenders should be individually charged in courts,” said Opee.

She said South Africa and India had similarly banned the sale of alcohol, which has not had a significant demonstrated effect on the rate of infection.

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