By Christabel Chilande
The Ministry of Health in Kenya recently declared that restaurants and hotels could re-open on the condition that all their employees get tested for Covid-19. The government urged hotel staff to visit their hospitals for the Covid-19 tests for as low as 2000/- Fast food restaurants are especially eager to welcome back their customers with clear measures set in place. Distancing between tables, constant fumigation, and sanitization by the customers are a few. Now more businesses are going the same route to get a COVID-19have opened their doors to customers here in Nairobi. As mass testing goes on in various estates more cases are expected to be reported in the coming months.
In the CBD where a large number of people run small businesses, the recent restrictions have really put a strain on their finances. The once empty streets are now full of people going to work, lunch, and shopping. The street vendors are no exception with the hottest item now being the face masks selling for 50 shillings in various designs. The many shop stalls, shoe stores are slowly getting back to business, the employees wear masks and soap or sanitizers are provided for each customer.
With the narrow roads filled with buses and cars, social distancing becomes difficult to maintain.
Due to the possibility of crowding, some Kenyans decided to convert their cars into grocery stalls. Most having been laid off by companies or sent on unpaid leave had to find new ways to provide for their families. At the northern bypass onions, potatoes and other products are bought from the comfort of your car. This comes in line with the 1.5m distancing rule, so there is minimal interaction between them and their customers.
The false sense of security it seems is brought about by the low number of Covid-19 related deaths reported by the government. As of 29th May, the total number of deaths is at 62 compared to countries like Brazil that have recorded deaths in the thousands since the pandemic broke out in 2019. The traffic jam into and out of the city center during the morning and afternoon rush hours is a clear indication that Kenyans are not staying home.
As more businesses attain the special permits required from the government to reopen, many employees might be returning to their jobs. The health CS Mutahi Kagwe defended this move by the government as a way to save some Kenyans from unemployment.