KENYA – The government of Kenya in partnership with alcohol industry stakeholders have proposed new guidelines to governor operations in establishments selling alcoholic drinks such as bars, pubs and clubs, aimed to tame the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the stakeholders who were part of the guidelines formulation are the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants’ Association (PERAK) and the Bar Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA).

The protocols contained in the 2nd Edition of the Guidelines for the safe operation of businesses during the pandemic will see bar and pub owners implement a raft of health measures before they can be granted a permit to sell alcohol in their premises.

The rules, according to Standard Media, contain the standard operating procedures for sale of alcoholic drinks, general hygiene measures, specific operations guidelines, social distancing guidelines, cleaning, disinfection and protective gear guidelines, and the screening protocol, among others.

“The guidelines assign roles and responsibilities and the various forms and permits that will be necessary to enable the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“Consumers and society at large are expecting more from businesses. Embracing our responsibilities on exercising utmost care in adherence to the protocols will play to our advantage,” said Betty Maina, CS Trade.

According to the protocols, bar owners are required to shield counters with a perspex glass to block contact between buyer and seller with the latter prohibited from sitting at the counter.

Protocols from the 1st edition of the guidelines released in June 2020–such as social distancing–will remain in place, requiring patrons and attendants to observe a 1.5-meter physical distance.

All surfaces of the premises will be required to be disinfected on a regular basis to avoid contamination.

This is in addition to providing a complete hand washing station and/or sanitizer at the entrance of the establishment for use by the customers, where their temperature checks will also be undertaken.

“The guidelines assign roles and responsibilities and the various forms and permits that will be necessary to enable the sale of alcoholic beverages.”

Cabinet Secretary Trade – Betty Maina

The establishments will also be expected to display signage at the entrance indicating the maximum number of partakers allowed into the premise at any given time.

Any physical activity that facilitates contact between partakers in an alcohol selling establishment has been highly discouraged with the bars required to close dance floors.

To ensure that drinkers observe protocols the premises will be required to hire Covid-19 liaison officers.

The Trade Ministry is also encouraging cashless transactions such as mobile money transfers to reduce the handling of hard currency.

Any alcoholic drink seller found in breach of COVID-19 rules issued under Public Health Act Cap 242 shall take personal responsibility and consequent enforcement action.