Has the Government of Kenya Published a Gazette Notice That Prohibits the Sale of Alcohol?

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A purported gazette notice titled ‘The Public Health (COVID-19 Prohibition of Sale of Alcoholic Drinks) Rules 2020’ has been circulating online, claiming that the Government of Kenya has banned the sale of alcoholic drinks in the country.

The post has been published and circulated on Facebook and Twitter platforms.

Background

Kenya’s National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus on March 22 ordered the closure of all bars, in addition to suspending eat-in services at restaurants across the country. According to the committee, this move was aimed at enforcing the social distancing requirement in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 after the virus was first confirmed in Kenya on March 13.

The directive was later relaxed when restaurants were allowed to open for eat-in customers. President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 25 announced that restaurants and eateries that uphold protocols and measures against the spread of COVID-19 would be opened.

“We will allow a few restaurants and eateries that show the highest levels of health regulation compliance, and the ability to arrange for employee testing, to undertake minimal operations while maintaining measures that mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

On the sale of alcoholic drinks, the protocols set by the ministry of health directed that: “Alcohol shall only be sold with a meal in the restaurant and only be served to customers waiting to be served a meal, during the meal, or 30 minutes after the meal has ended.”

The government, however, upheld the rule that bars remain closed, as was instructed on March 22.

Nonetheless, President Kenyatta’s public address on June 27 then declared that serving alcoholic drinks in restaurants and eateries is prohibited.

Verification

The sale of alcoholic drinks has however not been prohibited.

A post published on the Ministry of Interior’s Twitter account warned that the gazette notice circulating is fake.

Verdict

There are no references or copies of the alleged Kenya Gazette notice claiming that the sale of alcoholic drinks in Kenya is prohibited nor are there any direct references to it in any of the local dailies which have been consistent in covering legal work relating to the pandemic and any other special issues of the Gazette that are of national interest.

The same has not been communicated by any government official(s) or through the government’s official platforms. In the absence of any evidence confirming the purported gazette notice, we can, therefore, conclude that it is FAKE.

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Linda Ngari