All bars in Kenya will be required to hire Covid-19 liaison officers to ensure compliance with various protocols meant to curb the spread of the virus.
The guideline is among new state regulations awaiting gazettement to guide operations in bars, liquor stores and other entertainment joints.
Covid-19 liaison officers will be tasked with ensuring compliance with measures including social distancing and restricting the number of revelers allowed into the establishments.
They will also be responsible for ensuring workers at the establishments comply with a yet to be developed Covid-19 code of conduct.
With over 54,000 bars, liquor stores and alcohol-selling hotels operating in the country according to the Kenya Bar Owners and Liquor Traders Association, the regulations are expected to create thousands of job opportunities.
The association, as well as alcohol manufacturers, had called on the government to develop regulations to be followed by establishments following a worrying increase in cases of the virus.
The Ministry of Health had cited bars, social events and entertainment joints as a major contributor to the wave of infections raising fears that bars could be closed yet again due to the pandemic.
An initial 6 months-long ban on alcohol sales at sit-in establishments announced in mid-March saw bar owners incur losses running into billions of shillings.
Under the new regulations, bars will be compelled to appoint and train the Covid-19 liaison officers, who will be considered a link between the state and the establishments.
“Every establishment shall appoint and adequately train a Covid-19 liaison officer.
“The liaison officer shall be the point of contact with the Ministry of Health, Sub-County Liquor Licensing Committee and other sector players keep abreast of the emerging health, safety, and hygiene information and preventative measures related to Covid-19,” the regulations read in part.
Bars will also have to close their dance floors and limit contact between staff and revelers.
In addition, they will be required to display signage indicating they have reached maximum capacity based on MoH protocols on the pandemic.
As part of a self-regulation drive, bars had already committed to reducing sitting capacity by half to ensure social distancing.
They also pledged to prioritize contact-free payments and to restrict drinking at counters.