The Government, through the Ministry of Health, has announced the extension of operating hours for bars and restaurants beginning next week. The move has brought a major relief to bar operators who have been pushing the state to lift the restrictions.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that pubs and eateries will be allowed to close at 11 pm. They must however still observe strict health guidelines such as social distancing and sanitizing.

Since March last year, bars in the country have been operating from 5 pm up to 7 pm while restaurants have been running from 8 am up to 9 pm. These measures were put in place in a bid to combat the spread of COVID-19 in social places.

Other restrictions eased are the attendance capacities in places of worship. Worship facilities are now allowed to have 2/3 attendance, up from 1/3 physical attendance allowed previously. President Uhuru Kenyatta made the directives on 20th October in his Mashujaa Day speech in Kirinyaga County.

The new measures for bars and restaurants were announced a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the nationwide curfew, which has been in place since March last year to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“With the removal of curfew hours, we are reverting to the closure of bars and restaurants at 11 pm or the time allowed by the licensing authorities. Protocols on handwashing, social distancing, and sanitizing however remains in force,” said CS Kagwe.