Museveni Reopens Schools, Churches As Bar Owners Continue To Languish

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has on September 20, 2020 eased on Covid-19 restrictions which were set up in March 2020.

The President in today’s speech reopened schools for only candidate classes and university finalists.

Below are some of the highlights from President Museveni’s address on Covid19.

1. Schools will re-open on October, 15 for the candidate classes of Primary Seven, Senior Four, Senior six, finalists in tertiary colleges and finalists in universities.

2. The International Airport and land borders will now be opened for tourists, coming in and going out, provided they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda and provided the tour operators ensure that the tourists do not mix with the Ugandans. Returning Ugandans, who have negative PCR results, will be allowed to go home. The Ministry of Health will only get their addresses for follow up.

3. Restrictions on movements on border districts are hereby lifted.

4. Curfew, from 9pm to 6am, will be maintained; but for the boda-boda riders, their movement must always end at 6pm.

5. Places of worship, should open with the following guidelines:

A) Individual prayers or confessions with priests or counseling with the necessary SOPs.

B) Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs.

C) Night prayers and transnights are not allowed.

D) The regular large gatherings of prayers and preachings of Sundays and Fridays will be considered at a later stage but the rule of the number of 70 and not more can be used on the Fridays and Sundays.

6. Open air activities of sports will re -open provided there are no spectators and the players are tested for Covid-19, 72 hours before. This test will expire in 14 days. Hence, the Sportsmen will have to repeat the test every fortnight. Still on re-opening sports; -With tournaments, teams should be quarantined for the whole season of the competition.

However, Indoorsports activities, including gyms, remain closed.

7. Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas remain closed.

8. Bars shall remain closed.

9. Hotels will continue operating following the SOPs agreed with the Ministry of Health.

10. Restaurants should continue to emphasize the takeaways. Indoor restaurant services should be minimized and follow the SOPs.

11. Mobile Markets, monthly cattle auction and produce markets, should remain closed as the Ministry of Health continues to develop SOPs.

12. Mass gatherings are still prohibited.

13. Bamasaaba grandchildren engaged in Imbalu have SOPs from the Ministry of Health that were agreed with the Cultural Institution. There should be no processions dancing Kadodi – that is dangerous congregating.

In June, Bar owners petitioned parliament to push the government to lift a lockdown on their business as loans and rent arrears get to their necks. They pledged to enforce social distance in bars and other health guidelines to make bars safe against Covid-19

Under their umbrella body of Legit Bar, Entertainment and Restaurants Owners Association Uganda Limited, Bar owners handed over a petition to the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga, challenging the continued Covid-19 lockdown on bars. They claim Covid-19 is here to stay and so the government should mitigate the pandemic control measures with survival. The group told the speaker that they are overwhelmed with bank loans, rent arrears on top of their products which are expiring.

The bar industry is estimated to employ over 5 million Ugandans directly and indirectly who have been ravaged by the lockdown.

Bar owners committed to working with the government to abide by the set Covid-19 guidelines and implement them in their outlets including social distance which seems to be hard to achieve in bars.

However it’s been a shocking moment, the president didn’t mention them on those allowed to reopen.

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