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Wear a mask in public and in cars or go to jail - CS Kagwe

The rules do not define what a mask is with Kenyans having been told to use scarfs before.

In Summary

• The penalty applies if you violate any of the Public Health (COVID-19 Restriction of Movement of Persons and Related Measures) Rules 2020.

• On Monday, Kenya declared Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi as Covid-19 infected areas.

A driver is seen with a mask from the side mirror of his car in Nairobi.
A driver is seen with a mask from the side mirror of his car in Nairobi.
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

It will cost you Sh20,000 or six months of your freedom if you are found not wearing a mask in your car or matatu.

When you are in public, other than wearing a mask, you must also maintain a distance of one metre between yourself and others.

You can also go to jail or get fined Sh20,000 if your business is not providing either soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser at the entrance.

The same applies if you violate any of the Public Health (COVID-19 Restriction of Movement of Persons and Related Measures) Rules 2020.

 

"A person who commits an offence under these Rules shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both," Health CS Mutahi Kagwe says in a Gazette Notice dated April 6.

The notice says that users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear a proper mask that must cover the person’s mouth and nose.

The regulations, however, do not define what a mask is even after the Ministry of Health said it was ok for Kenyans to use scarfs due to the scarcity.



Police have also been given the authority to detain your vehicle pending your arraignment in court and/or for the duration of the restriction period.

The rules define “restriction period” as the period specified by the Cabinet Secretary in the order declaring an area to be an infected area.

On Monday, Kenya declared Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi as Covid-19 infected areas.

As a result, it was declared that for 21-days starting April 6, there shall be no movement of persons into or out of an infected area, either by road, rail or air.

 

The only exception is for transportation of essential commodities such as food, medical supplies and cargo as defined in the rules.

Kenya has been putting in place various directives aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

On Thursday, Kagwe announced that the country now has a total of 184 cases including seven deaths and 12 recoveries.

The rules say that every organisation, business entity, trader or vendor whether in a market or enclosed premises shall a handwashing station with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.

They are also required to "put in place measures to ensure that physical distance of no less than one metre is maintained between persons accessing or within their premises or business location."

Any form of gatherings is prohibited and funeral vigils banned while only 15 mourners can attend a burial.

The rules also dictate that all passenger rail services, bus services, matatu services, taxicab services and e-hailing services vehicles shall not carry more than 50 per cent of their licensed capacity.

Motorcycles are only allowed to carry only one passenger or goods and bicycles can only have the rider.

In addition, private vehicles shall not carry more than 50 per cent of the licensed capacity.