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Bar owners promise not to increase prices

By John Odyek

Added 14th November 2020 07:38 PM

"When we re-open we shall operate at half capacity so it may not be necessary to increase prices. At half capacity, we can begin to revive our businesses. If we increase prices, we might discourage our customers from coming."

Bar owners promise not to increase prices

Gherahtu (Left) addressing the media at Kati Kati Restaurant, Kampala. Looking on is Rukundo. Photo by John Odyek

"When we re-open we shall operate at half capacity so it may not be necessary to increase prices. At half capacity, we can begin to revive our businesses. If we increase prices, we might discourage our customers from coming."

Bar and club owners have promised not to increase the prices of food and drinks when their businesses resume.

Following the COVID-19 lockdown, the Government in March closed down bars, clubs, public transport, casinos, gyms, churches, and schools among others to curb the spread of Covid-19.

"When we re-open we shall operate at half capacity so it may not be necessary to increase prices. At half capacity, we can begin to revive our businesses. If we increase prices, we might discourage our customers from coming," Tesfalam Gherahtu, the chairman of the Legit Bar Restaurant and Entertainment Association (Lebra).

He said many bars were now in crisis as they are faced with evictions, confiscation of their properties by landlords, loss of revenue, expiry of stock, rise in debts, rent arrears, and failure to service loans.

Gherahtu added that they were forced to lay off many of their employees as there was no work and income to sustain them over the nine months of closure.

Gherahtu together with other members of the association addressed the media at the Kati Kati Restaurant at the Lugogo Bypass in Kampala.

Gherahtu outlined the procedures the bars had agreed to follow if they were allowed to resume operations.

The procedures require all patrons and staff to wear face masks, the temperatures of all patrons and staff to be checked following the ministry of health guidelines.

The bar operators will register client details and time of arrival for ease of contact tracing if required.

They said bars will operate at 50% of normal capacity to allow sufficient social distancing and crowd control.

"Outdoor seating will be encouraged and no usage of air conditioning. No loud music will be played to avoid clients to shout when talking. A two meter distance will be observed between tables," Gherahtu said.

The bar industry promised to use cashless transactions such as mobile money and e-banking.

"Curfew hours shall be respected and all bars will close at 8:00 pm to allow sufficient time for clients to travel home before 9:00 pm," Gherahtu said.

He added that they will have adequate security to evict non-complying clients.

"All surfaces including tables, chairs, and counters will be sanitized before clients sit and after they leave. Persons with temperatures above 37.0 degrees centigrade will be denied entry and handed over to the health ministry teams and authorities," Gherahtu said.

Gheratu is the proprietor of Cassablance Lounge at Kololo, Kampala.

Medard Rukundo, executive committee member of Lebra explained that bars are a key player in the hospitality industry sustaining over 6.3 million people.

He said players in the bar industry include manufacturers, grain farmers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers.

He said staff such as cleaners, bouncers, chefs, accountants, storekeepers, security personnel have lost jobs.  

As many of the bar operators were running out of money, many have considered opening up illegally.

The bar owners said they can adapt, just like saloons, restaurants, massage parlours, gyms, arcades, markets that have been allowed to operate.

The Government has allowed the re-opening of cinemas, gyms, massage parlors, and mobile markets.

The Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng said that casinos and gaming outlets may resume operations after fulfilling conditions included in the standard operating procedures.

Aceng while announcing the Government's phased lifting of the lockdown noted that the hours of operations for gyms, cinemas, and massage parlors would be restricted from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm.


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