The Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association has protested against the proposal by the Ministry of Health to ban the sale of alcohol to sit-in customers as a measure to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The association said at a press conference in Nairobi that the move would lead to an increase in the consumption of illicit alcohol, which they say has gone up with the closure of bars for the last four months.
The association also said they were concerned about the roadside declarations by county government officials and policemen banning the sale of alcohol as they are not legal and would result in intimidation and extortion.
“Banning the sale of alcohol effectively paves the way for a number of social ills. Specifically, these are: an increase in the consumption of illicit alcohol, encouraging drinkers to take alcohol home, and the withdrawal of employment for the millions of workers employed by the sector,” said Mr Boniface Gachoka, Secretary General National Bar Owners Association.
Mr Gachoka said banning the sale of alcohol would further worsen the unemployment caused by the closure of bars, whose effect extends to sorghum farmers and the bar workers.
Bars have remained closed since early April but the Government has issued protocols for reopening of eateries and restaurants and allowed the sale of alcohol to patrons who are buying food as well.
Bars also include the outlets where Senator Keg is closed as well as establishments that are not attached to restaurants and eateries.
“With bars closed and affordable drinks out of circulation,” said Mr Simon Njoroge, Chairman Bar Owners Association, “We have noted an increase in the consumption of illicit brews to a worse level than 2015, when H.E. the President formed a multi-agency taskforce to stop its consumption. The increase has taken a more dangerous form as we now have reports of people taking hand sanitiser.”
The association said it had written to the Ministry of Health over the proposed regulations.
It also asked the police and the Health ministry to take action on establishments that breach the guidelines set by the Government.