The Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) says the ‘safety bar structure’ that contains Covid-19 prevention rules and guidelines will be established, forwarded to owners, before they are officially allowed to reopen across the country.
The “new safety bar structure” aims to direct owners and bar visitors to adhere with the Coronavirus prevention measures, once they are officially reopened.
None will be allowed to reopen before fulfilling or complying with the upcoming new safety bar structure (bar safety rules), according to the Ministry of Local government.
“Before the cabinet deciding to reopen bars, we analyzed several things including; vaccination of people, the time bars have spent without working and the problems owners have faced including rent issues and people who were employed in the bars before the pandemic, and are now jobless,” Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, Minister of MINALOC said.
“The number of bars is not yet known, we cannot say that all the bars will be reopened, and they are not yet reopened as of now. We have responsibilities as leaders from the Ministry Health and Rwanda Development Board(RDB) to discuss what should be done before bars are officially reopened, first, we shall discuss how a safe bar should look like,” Gatabazi added.
He noted that a ‘new safety bar structure’ will not be established in a commercial way, but safe ways that will guarantee safety for the visitors.
He made the observation on the State television while explaining the cabinet resolutions about Covid-19 pandemic yesterday.
Yesterday, the cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro decided that bars should be reopened gradually effective September 23.
They will be reopened for the first time since they were closed, following the first cases of Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.
“The bar safety rules, Or the structure will cover the prevention measures including washing hands, physical distancing, and fresh air. At the time of officially reopening, we shall encourage bar owners to work in open spaces for people to get enough fresh air,” Gatabazi added.
“The first thing on the discussion table is what the bar should have before being allowed to reopen. The new bar structure will not give a gap for the possibilities of spreading the virus. After designing the structure, the district officials and law enforcers will sit with bar owners to discuss these rules and obey them,” he noted.
Gatabazi said that for a bar to reopen, it will need to hire people who will monitor washing of hands, reminding people to respect guidelines, and other requirements including Covid-19 test results and vaccination proof could also be requested in the future.
“For the vaccination proof requirement, it cannot be requested everywhere now, because all people have not been vaccinated in the country. You cannot say that only the vaccinated people will go to the bar. But all of these rules will go hand in hand with the upcoming bar safety rules,” Gatabazi noted.
He pointed out that the bar owners will have to show commitment and responsibility to protect their customers from Covid-19 infections to be allowed to reopen.
“A team of bar inspectors will be established, only those who will fulfill the requirements will be allowed to reopen, it will be gradual reopening for the qualifying ones only, just like it was done in churches,” he added.
Gatabazi warned that bars that will bleach any of the safety rules will be closed.
Cases reducing in Kigali
The Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije said that some Covid-19 treatment centers located in the city of Kigali have been closed as patients are significantly reduced.
The closed treatment centers include Kanyinya and Gatenga.
“The Covid-19 patients have reduced significantly, remaining few patients who were still admitted at both closed centers were transferred to Nyarugenge treatment center. We conducted a surprise mass testing in different sectors of the city, and the realised that infections have reduced. The tests were conducted in Nyamirambo, Remera, Gitikinyoni and several other areas,” Dr. Ngamije said.
“We tested over 5000 people, among them, only 20 were infected. And, among these twenty, seven came from Gicumbi district. This means, the positivity rate in Kigali city is 0.4%, it has reduced from 5% in July when the Covid-19,” Ngamije added.
He added that the decrease is a great improvement in fighting the virus and it resulted from people adhering to the prevention guidelines but also the mass vaccination.
According to Dr. Ngamije, 70% of people aged 18 have been vaccinated.
One Million More Vaccines next week
The Ministry of Health will receive one million vaccines next week to continue with the vaccination exercise. They will be received in the country before the end of this month, according to Dr. Ngamije.
“Before this month ends, we shall receive 1 million vaccines. Our target of vaccinating 60% of the entire population will depend on the continuous receiving of vaccines. If this speed persists, this year will end with vaccination of 30%, and next year reaching 60%,” Dr. Ngamije said.
“We trust that we shall continue getting vaccines in different ways including the ones that we buy as the government, and through the COVAX initiative. With different ways, we think we shall hit the target by next year,” he noted.
COVID-19 vaccination program was officially launched on 5 March 2021 and so far, 1,416,794 people have received a second dose of the vaccine as of September 21.