HomeBUSINESSBar Owners Cry out For Government to Allow them to Re-open.

Bar Owners Cry out For Government to Allow them to Re-open.

By Juanita Namulondo

Bar owners under their umbrella body Uganda Bar Owners Association (BOA) have urged the government to allow them to reopen and pledged to follow the set standards of operating procedures as stipulated by the Ministry of health to help curb the spread of the novel corona virus pandemic.

They further stated that they will allow in only 50% of the normal sitting capacity, and encourage outdoor sitting and cashless transactions using mobile money or credit cards. Management shall ensure tight security, no air-conditioning, recording the clients’ details on arrival, and respecting the curfew hours.

“All services will stop at 8pm to allow people get to their residences and beat the curfew hours”. Jesfalem Gherahtu the chairman of the Bar Owners Association said. “There will be no more giving out of drinks or food and all television screens and music shall be put off to allow people get home early,” the Casablanca owner emphasized. 

 “We have suffered enough losses from expired stock, failure to meet credit obligations, water and electricity bills, rent and eviction notices plus court orders,” he Jesfalem concluded. He made these remarks last Friday from Kati Kati restaurant in Kampala while speaking to journalists.

“All staff and clients shall wear face masks or shields before they can access the premises,” said Medard Rukundo, an executive member of the association and owner of Big zone Nansana. 

Furthermore, the temperature of all patrons and clients shall be taken and whoever is found with a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius shall be strongly followed up or handed over to the authorities for COVID-19 testing.

 The bars industry serves about a 6.3million people in Uganda. These include farmers, suppliers, retailers, manufacturing security, and the transport industry. They contribute about UGX2.8trillion annually to the country’s revenue.

 Since March 2020, when bars were closed, the government lost over UGX1.5trillion.In addition, there was a massive job loss to people who were employed in bars as chefs, bouncers, accountants, cleaners, hawkers, those in the transport sector to mention but a few.

Bars were closed in March together with churches and public means of transport, arcades, shopping malls, gaming, sauna, and gym entities plus the non-food markets. However, places of worship schools, restaurants have ever since resumed operations though not at full capacity, bars remained shut because according to the ministry of health, it is hard to observe the SOPs when drunk which makes bars and night clubs a fertile ground for the spread of the virus.

A fortnight ago, the National COVID-19 taskforce partially relaxed some guidelines for instance places of worship and campaigns were allowed to accommodate 200 people while observing the SOPs up from the previous 70 in the beginning. 

 The gaming outlets like casinos, gyms, and sauna were also given the green light to reopen with effect from 14th November 2020 while observing the SOPs set by the Ministry of health to prevent the further spread of the virus.

As per the tests carried out on 13th November 2020, Uganda has registered 387 new cases bringing the total number of cases to 15,789, 8,038 recoveries, and 144 fatalities. The total COVID-19 samples tested to date by the ministry of health and other private health facilities stands at 585,456.

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