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Bar owners urge Uhuru to extend operating hours

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President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Bar owners Tuesday asked the government to extend operating hours to help their businesses recover from Covid-19 pandemic losses. 
  • Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) at a press briefing said the continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.
  • BAHLITA members said that the two hours from 5 pm they are allowed to operate is not enough to make meaningful sales. 

Bar owners Tuesday asked the government to extend operating hours to help their businesses recover from Covid-19 pandemic losses. 

Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) at a press briefing said the continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.

BAHLITA members said that the two hours from 5 pm they are allowed to operate is not enough to make meaningful sales. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his Labour Day address allowed bars to operate until 7 pm instead of 9 pm as was the case before they were closed on March 29.

“While the resumption of operations by bars is welcome, we would like to ask the President to consider increasing the hours of operation,” BAHLITA secretary-general Boniface Gachoka said.

“An extension of a number of hours would enable us to resume business in a more complete manner and facilitate the resumption of business by the more than 15,000 bars that have been forced to shut down completely due to the vagaries of the pandemic.”

The lobby also asked county governments to waive taxes and licenses for the struggling sector. Already, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, and Machakos have given operators waivers. 

“We are pleading with the counties that are around and also the national government that we only pay one license that is the liquor license,” BAHLITA chairman Simon Njoroge said.

Restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 have affected the sales of alcohol in the country.  

East African Breweries (EABL) #ticker:EABL posted a three percent drop in net sales for its first half-year ended December as sales were pummeled by the closure of bars. 

The company, which dominates the regional alcohol market with Tusker beer among other brands, turned to electronic commerce last year to prop up sales.

It set up an online distribution platform to deliver alcohol to homes and partnered with delivery firms like Glovo to reach customers directly.