Six thousand bars and eateries in the Nairobi Metropolitan region are set to receive training on COVID-19 safety protocols by June this year in the ongoing Raising the Bar with Tusker program, which is being jointly carried out by the Ministry of Health, County Governments, Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) and AMREF.
This comes a week after the Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) indicated that more than 30 percent of the bars and restaurants in operation before the pandemic have permanently shut down, hurting the business to a large extent.
Speaking on the sidelines of a training session for bars and eateries owners, operators, and staff in Machakos town, AMREF Programs Manager Leenah Kanyangi said that their target is to reach 10,000 outlets across 40 counties, including the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, where the bulk of this work is.
Within the Nairobi Metropolis, AMREF is targeting 6,000 outlets by June, and outside Nairobi, they are targeting 4,000 outlets. Of this, AMREF has already reached 2,273 outlets and managed to train about 3,800 people from these outlets.
She said that the campaign provides the outlets with COVID-19 safety material and information, which they can put at their establishments to remind customers of the necessary safety protocols like correctly wearing masks and handwashing.
She added: “We expect that by working closely with partners, within the next four months, we will visit these facilities to ensure that they are adhering to these guidelines to ensure that we are protecting the workers and the clients.”
Speaking at the same event, Principal Public Officer from the Ministry of Health, Janet Mule, said:
“We know that bars and restaurants are some of the potential areas for super spreader events. This training is very timely as we get to the third wave to get to control the pandemic. I would like to thank East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) through KBL for supporting this campaign with the logistics to train the bar staff and owners. I would also want to thank AMREF and the county government of Machakos for hosting us.”
Eric Mwau, Viena Club manager in Machakos town, said that the training would facilitate them with skills to prevent themselves, their workers, and the clients from contracting or spreading COVID-19. He said that they had received training on how to attend to their customers and families at home.
The training program is part of Diageo’s Ksh11 billion ($100 million) global fund to support bars and pubs bounce back after months of disruption. The training offers requisite skills, equipped with practical equipment to meet COVID-19 safety protocols and psychosocial support during their work.
The Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK), in its recently released report, indicated that the permanently shut establishments represent about 16,000 businesses covering the livelihoods of an estimated 160,000 Kenyans.
Locally, the Raising the Bar program is expected to provide a much-needed shot in the hospitality industry’s arm, which has over 40,000 retailers employing over 300,000 people and benefitting many more directly, including farmers.