COVID-19 MEASURES

Kenyans wait on Uhuru today as bar operators, cab drivers lobby for curfew end

Bar and restaurant owners for instance want the President to lift the curfew as their businesses were clearly the most hit by the night curfew

In Summary
  • The top concern for most business owners is whether the President will lift the 10pm to 4am curfew, which has been limiting their working hours.
  • The entertainment industry supports an entire chain of other sectors, such as taxi operators, bodaboda operators and fresh produce suppliers most hit.
Taxi operator Yaya center Christopher Tinega, Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) Nairobi and National chairmen Michael Muthami and Frank Mbogo during a press briefing at Coco Jambo Kilimani addressing the need for full reopening of the economy to help the recovery of their businesses
Taxi operator Yaya center Christopher Tinega, Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) Nairobi and National chairmen Michael Muthami and Frank Mbogo during a press briefing at Coco Jambo Kilimani addressing the need for full reopening of the economy to help the recovery of their businesses
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

Bar and restaurant operators want President Uhuru Kenyatta to lift the curfew saying their business have been adversely affected.

According to the Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) more than 30 per cent of the bars and restaurants in operation before the pandemic have permanently shut down .

My business has really been suffering from the curfew as before the pandemic I would even work overnight but the curfew limits this
Moses Njenga, online taxi driver

That is about 16,000 businesses that have collapsed, and given that every restaurant employs at least 10 people, that’s about to 160,000 people losing their jobs.

The entertainment industry supports an entire chain of other sectors, such as taxi and boda boda operators and fresh produce suppliers, and the closure of an establishment means that a lot more people suffer.

Moses Njenga, who operates on the various online taxi platforms said that his business has really suffered from the curfew noting that before the pandemic he would occasionally work overnight but the curfew has limited this.

According to PERAK, The closure of one bar in the rural areas affects a minimum of 20 people while in urban areas such as Nairobi and its environs affects at least 200 people, with a lot more livelihoods affected.

“While we have lamented the reduction of operating hours and operating on reduced capacity to allow for social distancing, we have witnessed worrying trends from the transport industry, leaders, and elected representatives,” PERAK said.

The association said there is double standards in applying the Covid-19 protocol citing political and roadside gatherings that have continued despite the ban to curb the spread of the pandemic.

PERAK said it is evident that infection rates are not solely determined by the whether bars are shut or not, arguing that the numbers have been on the rise despite the reduced operation hours.

The current curfew runs form 10pm to 4am.

Palmer Karanja, a university student, said he  hopes the President lifts the curfew as aside from school he operates a play-station shop to help him raise fees and business has not been good due to the limited hours.

“The curfew is really hurting my side hustle which helps me raise some of my fees and cash for daily use, if lifted at least I will be able to run my shop for at least two more hours and be able to make more money,” said Karanja.

Nancy Mutua, also a university student in Nairobi has a second hand clothes stall in the Nairobi CBD where she sells clothes after school.

“I am really betting on the President to lift the curfew so that I can get more time to run my shop,” Mutua said noting that most of her clients usually come in the evening.

Mutua said she has to close by latest 8.30 pm because of the curfew and therefore sends up losing business from late shoppers.