Has the Night Curfew Been Lifted and Bars Ordered to Re-Open in Kenya?

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A tweet published on September 15 claims that bars, restaurants and eateries in Kenya would be opened on September 20 and the night curfew would also allegedly be lifted a week later.

Background

Measures such as the closure of bars, restaurants and eateries in Kenya, as well as a dusk-to-dawn curfew (later reduced to just a night-time curfew), were introduced in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

After the first COVID-19 case was announced on March 13, the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus on March 22 ordered that all bars, restaurants and eateries be closed. Additionally, on March 25, President Uhuru Kenyatta, introduced a 7 pm to 5 am dusk-to-dawn curfew to be adhered by all citizens except those who gazetted as providing essential services.

Some of the directives were later relaxed with restaurants and eateries allowed to open under stringent conditions. On April 25, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that restaurants and eateries that upheld the set protocols and measures against the spread of COVID-19 could be opened for eat-in customers.

Bars were however ordered to remain closed as per the March 22 directive, as well as in subsequent communication from the government regarding COVID-19 measures. This was upheld by President Kenyatta in his most recent address to the nation on August 26, his eleventh national address regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The 9 pm to 4 am night curfew was also extended as ordered by the president in the August 26 address.

It is important to note that government orders to close bars do not mean that the sale of alcohol was banned as Piga Firimbihas previously reported.

Verification

There was no communication regarding the set COVID-19 measures from the Office of the President or a government official on September 15.

Information about the re-opening of bars and lifting the curfew has not been reported by any media outlets in the country, nor published on the official communications channels (the State House Twitter and/or Facebook accounts) where news from the Office of the President is routinely posted.

Following the August 26 presidential address, a statement by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua was issued on September 21.

This indicated that the president’s directives from the August 26 address, including the extended closure of bars and the 9 pm to 4 am curfew, would be extended until September 29 when the president would announce new measures, if any. The twelfth presidential address on COVID-19 is set to come after the National COVID-19 Conference slated for September 28.

“The National COVID-19 Conference will be followed by the twelfth presidential address to the nation on the Coronavirus pandemic. The address by the Head of State will unveil containment measures that shall guide Kenya into the new normal… His Excellency the President has extended the subsisting containment measures announced during the Eleventh presidential address up to Tuesday 29th September 2020,” Mr Kinyua’s statement reads.

Verdict

The claim that bars in Kenya were to be opened on September 20 and the night curfew lifted just a week later, is FALSE.

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Linda Ngari