COVID-19 EFFECTS

Businesses yet to feel effect of the country's reopening

The partial re-opening of the country was expected to boost the economy as key sectors were to start the road to recovery.

In Summary
  • The transport sector continues to be affected with revenues dwindling by approximately 60 per cent.
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Public service vehicles at Railway Station parking yard on April 7, 2020 / MERCY MUMO
NO BUSINESS: Public service vehicles at Railway Station parking yard on April 7, 2020 / MERCY MUMO

Businesses are still reeling from Covid-19 effects even after the President eased restrictions two weeks ago.

The partial re-opening was  expected to boost the economy, but it seems it will be a slow recovery.

The transport sector continues to be affected with revenues dwindling by approximately 60 per cent.

 
 

“We are still yet to recover from the effects of the pandemic since the country is still recording new cases daily and Kenyans are still afraid to move,” said Simon Kimutai, Chairman Matatu Owners Association.

He added that the social distancing measures put in place in the matatus are reducing revenues since they are unable to meet operational costs.

“Lifting of the Nairobi lockdown was a good move by the government as business has improved however due to the social distancing measures revenues are still low,” said John Chege a matatu driver on the Gachie route.

According to Lennox Shalo,  General Manager, Mash East Africa reduced numbers in their buses is hurting businesses.

“We have had to increase fares to all our destinations including Mombasa and Western Kenya by between Sh300-400 to be able to survive this period,” said Shalo.

The bus service is attracting customers even with the increased fares, the Mombasa route now costs Sh1,800 for a regular seat, Sh1,900 for business class while a VIP seat costs Sh2,000.

Zipporah Wairimu who imports clothes from China says that business has started picking but she has had to increase the price of the clothes due to increased air transport costs.

 

A spot check by the Star in various hotels and restaurants showed  business is slowly picking up but many Kenyans still prefer to eat at home.

“Business is still low. Most of our customers have travelled to the country side and also many people still fear to eat in the hotel and prefer take aways,” said John Kamau a restaurant owner in Gachie.

Josephine Ndinda who owns a shop in Gachie says the extension of curfew hours has seen her business improve.

“In a day we now make 10 per cent more profit with the 9pm curfew as we can now open for longer hours,” Ndinda said.

Business in the the tourism sector is slowly picking up with hotels at the coast recording August bookings a week after the cessation of movement was lifted.

August bookings are at an average 40 per cent at the coast, with some hotels having completed implementing the travel health and safety protocols laid out by the government.