Restaurants, bars close over Covid-19 safety fears

J's Fresh Bar and Kitchen
J's Fresh Bar and Kitchen, a gastro pub on Ngong Road. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Several restaurants and bars in Nairobi have shut their doors over safety concerns following an increase in the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.

Ankole Grill, Talisman Restaurant, Cultiva Restaurant, Eagles Steakhouse, J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen, Alchemist, Beer Garden and Galileo Lounge are some of the facilities that have closed indefinitely.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in a directive on Sunday asked Kenyans to avoid crowded places, including shopping malls and entertainment places.

“In light of recent events we no longer believe it's responsible for us to operate as normal while people’s lives are at risk. Both our team and guests' health and safety are our number one concern. We follow global service industry best practice operational guides which require us to minimise exposure,” said Talisman Restaurant management in a notice.

J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen’s management said that events held at the venue tend to attract a large crowd and that continuing to hold them would be going against the directive issued by the government.


Ole-Sereni Hotel is accommodating all guests moved from its sister property Emara, which has ceased operation due to Covid-19, and closed its gym and fine dining restaurant Eagles Steakhouse.

Some county governments have also ordered the shutdown of nightclubs.

In the Nairobi central business district, most restaurants remain open but the number of customers remains low, as offices opt to have employees operate from home while members of the public avoid social spaces.

This has been made worse by the reduced seating space as restaurants adhere to the one-metre spacing between customers rule. Restaurants, including Fogo Gaucho, have reduced seating in line with this rule.

High-end hotels Hemingways and Radisson Blu Arboretum have also suspended Sunday Brunch, popular with families and large groups, to limit the number of guests and contact points.

K1 Klubhouse has suspended all theme nights and events. Nyama Mama and its sister eateries have indicated that they will have live sanitisation of all cutlery to allay guests' fears about safety.

Restaurant chain Java has reduced hours of operation at some of its branches, with some closing as early as 5 p.m. Java said this was to ensure more time was dedicated to deep cleaning.

Those still operational are opting for takeaways and home deliveries instead of in-house sales in an effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

Eateries are also partnering with delivery services, including Uber Eats, Glovo, Yum and Jumia Food, to serve consumers remotely.

For their part, the delivery firms have initiated a no-contact model where customers can leave orders at the door, the restaurants place the food directly into the delivery bag and the customers take the food out themselves. It is expected that more businesses will be shut in the coming days and weeks as more cases get reported.

Some Kenyans are minimising expenditure as they figure out how long they can afford to live with reduced income if a lockdown is announced.

Kenya has so far confirmed seven cases of the virus, with 18 suspected ones admitted at Mbagathi Isolation Centre. Out of the 18, seven have been screened and the results were negative. Samples from the remaining 11 suspected cases are being processed in the two designated laboratories.

As at Thursday, the World Health Organisation Situation report on Covid-19 indicated that there were 191,127 cases confirmed globally and 7,807 deaths as a result of the disease. Africa had 233 confirmed cases and four deaths.