President Museveni has said the technical committee on Coronavirus is looking into the possibility of having bars opened.
Updating the country on the Coronavirus situation in the country, Museveni said government is aware that many businesses including bars are still closed but noted that they are being thought of.
“Our technical committee of health is still studying them but will give recommendations and we will inform you,”Museveni said on Thursday evening.
The President noted that government is thinking of allowing bars to open but clients will enjoy their drinks outside but said there is still skepticism over the same since many may not adhere to set Standard Operating Procedures.
“For bar people, there is an idea that drunkards may not go inside the bar but be outside and observe social distancing. I don’t know whether drunkards are reliable partners in some of these arrangements. Even if you say we keep social, what if they don’t,”Museveni said.
“You may say bars open but serve from outside but these are people not sober.”
The President said he too feels concerned by the plight of bar owners and other people depending on bars but noted he feels happier if people are healthy and free from the virus.
“We are aware of those sectors but I want you to know inconvenience is not as bad as dying. Dying is final but the inconvenience is not.”
The President’s comments come on the backdrop of bar owners, distributors of alcoholic beverages and related products who have cried foul since government ordered the closure of bars and nightclubs in March.
The group said the continued closure of bars and night clubs by extension has had devastating effects not only on businesses in the value chain but on the economy as a whole.
“The continued closure of bars has had severe impact on our businesses leading to revenues of up to shs550 billion being wiped out. This situation continues to escalate as the bar closure drags on for more months,” said Herbert Kamuntu from Kachain Logistics who are distributors for Nile Breweries Limited.
The distributors representing over 120 others said they employ over 1800 Ugandans countrywide with an estimated 9000 dependents that they said are now suffering due to the continued closure of bars and night clubs who are their clients.
“This number is even higher with spirits distributors which account for over 1,000 businesses and tens of thousands of employees and dependents,” Herbert Tumwesigye from Great Lakes regional distributors.
The group however said they should be allowed to open with set procedures that they said would be adhered to.