BUSINESSES HURT

Testing hitches stall reopening of Kakamega eateries

Public health officials are mulling waiving the requirement.

In Summary

• Some Kakamega restaurants have complied with most of the requirements but their workers are unable to get tests done. 

• The nearest testing centre is in Kisumu but the employees were could not be tested at the Kemri laboratory. 

CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the media on preparedness by counties in the war against Covid-19 pandemic on May 13, 2020
CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the media on preparedness by counties in the war against Covid-19 pandemic on May 13, 2020
Image: HILTON OTENYO

Eateries in Kakamega will take longer to reopen following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions because of testing challenges. 

The government allowed the eateries and hotels to reopen on April 27 but with tough social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Some Kakamega restaurants have complied with most of the requirements but their workers are unable to get tests done. 

The nearest testing centre is in Kisumu but the employees were could not be tested at the Kemri laboratory. 

They were referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital where they could also not secure the tests.

“We now do not know what to do because we can’t open without complying with all the protocols,” one hotel owner told the Star.  

The hotelier urged the government to advise on what the sector should do. 

Lurambi subcounty public health officer Robert Malala said he'd sought a waiver of the requirement. 

"I have recommended to my bosses that we waive the testing and allow the business to resume but with strict supervision to ensure safety of the clients," he said.

The Council of Governors on Wednesday urged the Health ministry to equip counties with sample collection kits, reagents, personal protective equipment and testing kits to facilitate faster testing.

CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya told hotel owners that inspection by the county public health officials for the re-opening licence is free. 

Licences will be issued after complying with all the requirements which include distancing, sanitisation and staff testing.

"Approximately 50 per cent of the eateries and 90 per cent of hotels are closed," he said.

(edited by o. owino)