The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade has announced fresh measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 and guide the sale of alcoholic beverages in pubs and restaurants in Kenya.  

The new rules were developed by the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), Bars Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA) and Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants Association (PERAK) to deal with the effects of the pandemic on their business.

The new protocols dictate that bar owners must shield their counters with Perspex glass to limit contact between the buyer and seller as buyers are now banned from sitting at the counter.

“Owing to uncertainty about the Covid-19 disease, to thrive in the new normal, companies need to make fundamental changes in every line of business,” said Industrialisation CS Betty Maina.

All dance floors shall be closed and each club must hire someone who will enforce virus containment, operations, general hygiene, social distancing, disinfection among other guidelines.

Any joint selling alcohol is required to comply with all the new requirements before they can be given a permit to continue operating.

“Our government is very clear in our resolve, but fulfilling becomes much more problematic thinking about the critical next months of the pandemic,” Maina said.

Alcohol retailers are also expected to establish a well-equipped Covid-19 holding room to handle staff members suspected to have contracted Covid-19 before the relevant authorities are invited.

“Consumers and society at large are expecting more from businesses. Embracing our responsibilities on exercising utmost care in adherence to the protocols will play to our advantage,” she added.

To sell alcohol, bar owners will need to fill three forms; an application permit, an inspection checklist and a permit to operate an alcohol retail establishment during the pandemic period.

The new ruled announced by the government will be revised after one year, with retailers found violating the measures issued under Public Health Act Cap 242 to be held personally liable.