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Why restaurants and not worship places? Govt explains

The government has defended its decision to allow the reopening of restaurants while leaving other public places including places of worship, bars and schools shut.

Acting director of public health Dr Francis Kuria said the decision to allow the eateries to resume operations was reached after consideration of the number of people employed in the food industry.

Dr Kuria said places of worship and other gatherings will remain guided by previous directives issued for control of the spread of Covid-19.

“It was found necessary to allow restaurants because they also provide areas where a majority of Kenyans can access to at least get a meal,” Dr Kuria said.

“We are just opening a small business for Kenyans to earn a living as we look at the disease pattern moving on.”

The restaurants must get reopening approval from the county directors of public health after complying with requirements including a mandatory test for Covid-19 for all their staffers at laboratories approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Kuria said the requirements are meant to ensure that all the gains made in containing the Covid-19 pandemic are not lost by opening the restaurants.

“You will only commence operations upon receipt of a permit from the county director of public health to operate food business during the period of Covid-19, pandemic. And we urge a lot of patience from the operators as they get inspected,” Dr Kuria added.

“Please be patient and do not open until you are inspected and given a license. You must provide evidence that all the workers in that facility have gone through medical screening and have tested negative for Covid-19 at a laboratory designated by the government.”

While restaurants were given the first priority, Kuria said the MoH is working on other guidelines and with the advice of those who are doing modelling of this disease for the ministry, a decision will be taken on which other areas are going to opened up.

“Establishments may seek this [Covid-19] testing from private facilities bearing in mind the constraints we have in supply chain of testing and sampling kits. Those who may wish to go to private facilities are encouraged to do so,” he added.

“The caution is that there could be others out there who say they’re going to offer this testing, using rapid test – we are saying you must do this with consultation with MoH because those rapid tests are still not yet approved by the Ministry.”

Kuria said the ministry is still doing – modelling and how the disease is progressing and will make further determinations from the reports.