By Our Reporter
Ugandan bar owners and events organisers under their umbrella body Legit Bar, Restaurant and Entertainment Association (LBREA), have cried out to President Yoweri Museveni and the Ministry of Health to consider reopening their bars, such that they can resume working so as to mitigate the losses they continue to incur ever since they were closed down in March this year to date.
It should be noted that bars, casinos, gyms and saunas were among the several business facilities that were closed down by President Museveni when he announced a national lockdown as one of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, although other facilities which include schools, universities, churches, mosques, sports arenas and stadia have since been reopened, bars and night clubs remain closed, something that has made their proprietors not only lose income but also register losses worth billions of shillings, on top of failing to service loans.
Robert Ssemwogerere, who is the proprietor of Munyonyo Auto Spa, said during a press conference on Thursday held at Atmosphere Lounge in Kololo, that; “We have done everything possible and put in place what is required of us to reopen but government has not given us audience yet. It seems the President has not yet explained to the people what happens in a bar and how it can operate safely.”
He added that; “We are sure no bar owner would like to have a COVID-19 patient at their premises because that would spoil business for that bar hence we have to be very careful while thinking of reopening.”
According to Ssemwogerere, bar owners are ready and willing to implement Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and other regulations that will be put in place by the Ministry of Health, but they say enough is enough.
He revealed that moneylenders and financial institutions are threatening to attach their properties because of failure to service loans. Some of the popular Kampala bars that have since remained closed include; Atmosphere, Guvnor, Casablanca, Club Ambiance, Lido Beach Hotel Entebbe, Resort Beach Entebbe, Gaba Beach, to mention but a few.
It should be noted that the police have since embarked on arresting any staff, proprietors and revelers that are found drinking in any bar around Kampala and its suburbs.