Kenyans react to move to take off masks
Mandatory wearing of face masks in open public places has been lifted and Kenyans have shared varied reactions about it.
Some Nairobians cheered the move, but others questioned the timing.
While some welcomed it as a relief and part of a return to normal life, others wondered what they will do as they were used to wearing them every day.
“Police and law enforcement officers should not harass Kenyans who are not wearing facemasks in public,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
He added that the ministry has also discontinued mandatory quarantine of vaccinated or unvaccinated Kenyans.
The rules had been imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19, which broke out in Kenya in March 2020.
“I feel like if you feel safer wearing it, then you should continue to wear it, but if you don’t want to, you shouldn’t have to,” said Susan Kamande, adding she was fully vaccinated and will continue wearing a mask.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for, tremendous progress after two long years of fearing what might happen if do not wear a mask in public. I have removed mine but it is still in my pocket, you never know. It has just been announced, but if a police officer doesn’t know, what will happen?” posed Nicholas Kimeu.
A spot check by Nairobi News showed Kenyans were still wearing their masks as they had not heard the news. “I’ve not heard anything until I reach home and watch the news then I will throw it away, until then, I will keep it on my face,” said Faith Kamayu.
The lifting makes Kenya the first African country to relax some Covid-19 measures to such an extent.
“Wearing masks in public places is no longer a must but when they are visiting government offices they should wear the masks,” he said.
Asked why he had opted to relax the measures, Kagwe said that it is because the number of people contacting Covid-19 in the country had gone down citing immunity.
“Kenyans are encouraged to wear face masks while attending indoor functions. We should now also see the temperature checks in public places stopped,” he said, adding that all in person indoor meetings will now resume at full capacity.
In addition, the government has also done away with quarantining.
As a result of the low positivity rate, sporting activities will see spectators allowed back in venues without masks.
Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) have also now been allowed to resume carrying passengers at full capacity without masks mandates.
‘Now I have to remember not to wear my mask as I leave the house. It is something that had become a part of my life, I hope I will remember to leave it in the house in the morning as I leave for work,” said Erick Adanga who was still wearing his mask.