NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – Restaurants across the country are to close business by 5pm, the Ministry of Health has ordered.
Chief Administrative Health Rashid Aman said the hours would allow the subsector to remain profitable, despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“For now the closing hour for restaurants and eateries is 5pm,” said Aman.
According to Aman, the ministry had anticipated that working hours for the facilities would be extended owing to the extension of the dusk to dawn curfew.
“We anticipate that because the curfew has been pushed up then naturally the operation hours for restaurants and eateries will equally be pushed up,” Aman said during the daily briefing of COVID-19 status in the country.
His sentiments come at a time when a spot check done by the Ministry of Health revealed that several eateries were operating past the stipulated closing time after the government extended the countrywide dusk to dawn curfew last week.
“The minute curfew was extended from 9pm most restaurants extended to operate even past 10pm,” Head of Public Health Francis Kuria announced on Friday.
Most hotels and restaurants closed from mid-March, soon after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case.
The Ministry of Health however allowed eateries to resume operations under strict COVID-19 protocols but also keen to ensure they bounce back to profitability.
The guidelines included meeting number of diners to 4 people for every 10 square meters of space, and staff member with a temperature above 37.5 degrees to be blocked from entering the premises.
The restaurants and eateries were also to install a contact-free thermometer and ensure that every person entering the premises has his/her body temperature taken.
Additionally, alcohol served in the premises was to be sold only with a meal in the restaurant and only be served to customers waiting to be served a meal, during the meal, or 30 minutes after the meal has ended.
However, those caught flouting these rules risk losing their licenses and permanent closure.
“ If your permit has been taken do not bother reapplying, we will make sure it will not go through,” Kuria warned.