MINISTRY OF INDUSTRIALIZATION, TRADE & ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
It is almost a year into the COVID-19 crisis. Lately, we have all have noticed the striking rise in the cases in many parts of the world, yet on the side of our government, we remain positive that we are up to the task to manage the twin threats to lives and livelihoods.
On one hand, there is palpable anger in the community with the idea of maintaining the Public Health protocols yet the impact of the invisible threat that is the coronavirus pandemic raises the bar on the role of business in our societies. As economic players, business people cannot sit aloof, watching the action. More and more, their employees and customers are demanding they get into the action. It, therefore, behoves us to remain engaged and lead in the process as we have effectively done in the past.
The prevalence of mild, flu-like symptoms means that governments, media, businesses and the public should redouble their efforts to promote safety precautions because there will be a natural tendency towards complacency. It’s harder to mount a consistent public-health message when the virus itself is so inconsistent in whom it infects, harms and kills. The fact that infected people can transmit it before they develop symptoms means that detection is difficult. Most important is also the notion of asymptomatic carriers: the huge share of infected people who show no symptoms but are contagious. Adherence to the Public Heath protocols underpins success in risk reduction.
Economic issues are a source of discontent as people grapple with surviving a season that no one can tell when it will end. It is against this background that we release the 2nd Edition of the Guidelines for the safe operation of businesses during the Pandemic. This time the guidelines have added the protocols for the Alcoholic beverages sector. We continue the partnership with the sector in safely conducting our businesses to save both lives and livelihoods.
The updated edition contains guidelines for the alcoholic beverages sector. It has been developed with the input of the stakeholders including the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants’ Association (PERAK) and the Bar Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA).
The guidelines contain The Standard Operating Procedures for sale of alcoholic drinks, general hygiene measures, specific operations guidelines, social distancing guidelines, cleaning, disinfection and protective gear guidelines, and the screening protocol. The guidelines assign roles and responsibilities and the various forms and permits that will be necessary to enable the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Our government is very clear in our resolve, but fulfilling becomes much more problematic thinking about the critical next months of the pandemic. As we release them, we continue to underscore the need to adhere to the MoH protocols in the conduct of our businesses.
Businesses are encouraged to lead through the COVID-19 crisis through managing risks in their operations. As we move into the festive season and the potential for successful vaccines to deliver a new period in dealing with a pandemic-altered world, there are high expectations. Consumers and society at large are expecting more from businesses. Embracing our responsibilities on exercising utmost care in adherence to the protocols will play to our advantage.
BETTY C. MAINA, CBS
30th November 2020