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Restaurant hours up to 7.30pm in fresh easing

Mutahi Kagwe
Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The operation hours for restaurants have been extended to 7.30pm in the latest gradual reopening of the economy.

The Health Ministry has yielded to pressure from hoteliers and restaurant owners to extend operation time by three-and-half hours. During the recent review of Covid-19 containment measures, President Uhuru Kenyatta moved curfew hours from 7pm to 4am from 9pm to 5am.

Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe also said workers in the hospitality sector would no longer be required to take Covid-19 tests every 14 days “as long as hotels and restaurants follow the sector’s laid down containment protocols”.

He said the ministry would only require the workers to undergo testing where facilities were found not to be observing hygiene and social distancing, contravening the measures to fight Covid-19. Tuesday, Kenya announced 133 new cases bringing total cases to 3,860.

“Testing is very expensive, and if somebody (hotel or restaurant worker) tested negative, if they do not exhibit symptoms or behave in a manner to suggest they are positive, there is no point of testing them again unless the facility has not followed the protocols,” said Mr Kagwe.

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“These guidelines must be adhered to and public health officials must ensure they are followed. Regular inspections will be done, and any operator found not to follow them will have their licences and certificates withdrawn permanently.”

Restaurants and hotels are expected to check temperatures of patrons before admission, and must also ensure that seats and tables are far from one another to ensure social distancing.

The facilities are also required to provide hand sanitiser at the entrance and have a well-equipped handwashing station.

Mr Kagwe was speaking Tuesday when he also announced 40 recoveries and the death of another Covid-19 patient, bringing total discharged persons and fatalities to 1,326 and 105, respectively.

Out of the total confirmed cases Tuesday, 86 were from Nairobi and 27 from Mombasa. Kiambu and Busia reported seven and five cases respectively as Kilifi, Kajiado Migori had two cases each. Murang’a and Machakos each had one.

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