The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) has appealed to the Government to review the Covid-19 safety measures, which have had a devastating impact across the hospitality industry in the country.
PERAK officials have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to at the very least give a fixed timeline on when the measures could be relaxed, issue a waiver or a reduction in the payment of levies by the hotel industry to the Government and allow for restaurants to serve food and alcohol to sit-in customers during the designated operation hours.
PERAK Director Michael Muthami said: “It is our prayer that the Government will give us a definitive timeline in his next address. We are heavily relying on their support to reduce the level of strain felt by the sector players, both owners and employees.
For 2020 and 2021, we have paid for the annual 18 statutory levies to the government yet we have not been fully operational.
We request that the Government gives us a waiver or significantly reduce these statutory payments in accordance to our new working conditions.”
Bars and restaurants are currently operating at 30 percent capacity and are only open for take-out and deliveries. This has led to high levels of unemployment and significantly reduced revenues.
Francis Mbogo, the chairman of PERAK’s Nairobi Chapter, said: “The hospitality sector is among the sectors that is experiencing the highest Covid-19 protocols, yet there is no evidence that the current high infectious rate the country is experiencing is attributed to this industry. As the industry, we are therefore not the spreaders.
We urge that the President listens to our appeal as our employees, who live hand-to-mouth, need to get back to work and continuing earning their living so they can afford rent, food and school-fees.”
“As a sector, we are willing to take the Covid-19 vaccination and the government should consider prioritizing the hotel employees to receive free vaccination, as we all work together to curb the spreads of the virus,” concluded Mbogo.
The entertainment industry supports an entire chain of other sectors, such as taxi operators, bodaboda operators and fresh produce suppliers, and the closure of an establishment means that a lot more people suffer.