Nairobi News

Must ReadNews

Restaurant owners to part with up to Sh4,000 per employee for Covid-19 testing before reopening

Restaurant owners who want to reopen their establishment will have to cough between Sh2,000 to Sh4,000 for each employee for mandatory Covid-19 for tests.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe told Parliament’s committee on delegated legislation on Thursday that the decision to slash the cost of conducting the tests in public health facilities was made after it emerged that most restaurant owners could not afford tests in private hospitals, which ranges between Sh8,500 and Sh10,500 per person.

“We have now said that for this purpose government hospitals will now offer the services and charge Sh2,000 to Sh4,000 depending on which government facility one goes to,” the Health CS stated.

The move comes after the government on Monday ordered the reopening of restaurants in public places but under very specific strict conditions.

In his daily briefing on the status of Covid-19, Kagwe also permitted the sale of alcohol alongside meals in restaurants, although no buffets will be served.

Acting Director of Public Health Francis Kuria said some of the conditions the restaurants must observe is staff testing and applying for a clearance certificate from the ministry website, before an inspection is conducted on the premises.

The restaurants will also be required to have thermal thermometers at their entrances and ensure a distance of at least a metre between patrons.

The ministry of health guidelines banned buffets and self-service meals, further advising that tables in dining areas must be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart to ensure social distancing is maintained.

There have been calls to reopen the economy in part since there is no data showing how far the disease has spread, critical information that would assure Kenyans they can go about their business without a high risk of catching the virus.

But the Health CS maintained that an earlier order for the closure of bars and entertainment joints will remain in force.

“The National Emergency Response Committee has approved the reopening of restaurants between 5am to 4pm each day. Diners must maintain a distance of four (each) per 10 square metres. Alcohol will only be served with a meal or at most 30 minutes after serving a meal. There shall be no self service or buffets. Restaurants should ensure the quality and safety food,” said Kagwe then.

This decision could also bring a smile to the faces of thousands of Kenyans who have been earning a living in the food service industry.