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Economy

Hotels can now sell liquor to guests in rooms

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to sell alcohol in their premises following the easing of a presidential directive aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19.

In correspondence seen by the Business Daily, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order banning alcohol sale is still in force but added that guests can only be served in their hotel rooms.

“The President's announcement ...was clear that alcohol should not be sold to the public in hotels/restaurants to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. However, after consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, alcohol can only be served in private and in rooms," reads the letter dated August 4, 2020 from Mr Balala to the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers chief executive Michael Macharia.

The minister was responding to queries by the hoteliers who were seeking relaxation of the alcohol ban, saying they had just reopened after four months of closure.

Mr Macharia, in his letter to Mr Balala on August 3, said hotels had included liquor in their reopening offers and were seeking clarification on the way forward.

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On July 27, President Kenyatta banned sale of alcohol in all hotels and restaurants and directed that all bars remain closed indefinitely to slow down the transmission of Covid-19.

In his televised address, Mr Kenyatta said people were socialising freely in places selling alcohol, posing grave risks to efforts against the pandemic.

The ban on sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries is in force up to end of August, while bars remain closed indefinitely.

The President also ordered permanent withdrawal of licences for operators breaching the alcohol ban.

According to a Central Bank of Kenya survey, hotel bookings have rebounded from the lows recorded since April.

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