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Bars clash with Police over operating hours as Uhuru lifts curfew

On Wednesday night, bars and nightclubs in Nairobi welcomed revelers way past the mandated 7 pm closing time in what appeared to be in contravention of the National Police Service order.

From the Central Business District (CBD) to the Kasarani area and along Thika Superhighway, revelers appeared keen to make merry until late.

This happened hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the lifting of the dawn to dusk curfew which has been in place since March 27, 2020, with immediate effect.

The curfew had been in place in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Later, the police maintained entertainment spots across the country to keep observing the embargo on operating hours.

During the marking of Mashujaa Day in Kirinyaga County, the Head of State said the decision to vacate the curfew was made following the declining rate of Covid-19 infection in the country.

He, however, urged Kenyans to adhere to the Covid-19 containment measures even as the government works on fully reopening the economy.

“It is, however, important for all of us to appreciate that we are not yet out of the woods. We must, therefore, continue to observe the containment measures as directed by the Ministry of Health, as this is the only way to sustain the gains we are making and a guarantee to the full re-opening of the economy,” said President Kenyatta.

The President said that a progress report by the National Emergency Response Committee on Covid-19 and the National Security Council led to the review of the containment measures.

The Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) called on the President to extend operating hours saying enforcement of the restrictions continues to hurt the recovery of the sector while recurring political gatherings which pose a greater risk are allowed.

“The actions of our leaders and elected representatives suggest that the protocols rolled out to limit the spread of Covid-19 are not necessary. Over the past month, presidential candidates have been holding rallies and meetings across the country to popularize themselves ahead of the elections,” said Frank Mbogo PERAK Nairobi Chapter chairman.

Over 15,000 bars and restaurants have been shut since the onset of Covid-19 with 90,000 jobs lost.

Under the health protocols published for the sector, bars are supposed to close the premises by 7pm in a move aimed at curbing Covid-19 spread.