Reprieve for Machakos bar owners as Assembly approves relief package

A past photo inside Club Leo, Machakos Town. Machakos County Assembly passed a relief package for bars. (Photo credit - Courtesy)

Bar owners from Machakos County affected by the recent closure due to COVID-19 can now breathe a sigh of relief following the intervention of Machakos County Assembly on their businesses that have been hard hit.

The Assembly passed a motion by Stephen Mwanthi MCA Ekalakala seeking to reduce all the charges for permits (including public health certificates and Single Business Permits) for bars and clubs in Machakos by 50 percent.

According to the motion, the reduction will be effective for businesses applying for permits between 8th October and 30th November 2020.

“Madam Speaker, aware that Article 210 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya provides that, no tax or licensing fee may be imposed, waived, or varied except provided by the legislation; further aware that the County Assembly enacted the Machakos County Finance Act 2019 which provides for the imposition of taxes, fees, and charges; aware that this Act provides for licensing of entertainment joints selling alcohol to acquire single Business Permits (SBP); also aware that the SBPs expire on 31st December every year…” The Ekalakala MCA said.

“Concerned that the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID – 19) pandemic has had far-reaching effects to the economy worldwide; aware that businesses in our County have not been spared either from these effects; also aware that the businesses selling alcoholic drinks such as bars and clubs have been
out of business for six months between April – September 2020; aware that this was as a result of the order by the President of Kenya to close these businesses in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.” The mover went on.

Following the closure of bars early this year, many bars, restaurants, and resorts closed their doors, leaving workers jobless or on indefinite unpaid leave. Despite the recent reopening, several bars were still unable to reopen after shutting permanently.

According to the Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya, up to 250,000 people were employed at bars and other entertainment spots prior to the pandemic.

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