Kenyan employers have been directed to be releasing the non-essential services employees by 4 pm daily, effective from today.
According to a gazette notice by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior of Coordination of National Government Fred Matiang’ i, the order was made in respect to the newly imposed 7 pm to 5 am curfew by the president to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease.
“All employers shall ensure that their workers, who are not designated as critical or essential services providers leave work not later than 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” read part of the notice.
This order comes after Kenyans complain that the curfew hours find them while still outside their homes as most are employed and cannot leave their places of work and be home by 7 pm.
Last week, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe also reproached employers for failing to release their staff early enough for them to beat the 7 pm curfew order.
Warning employers, CS Kagwe stressed that it was very unfair for employers to release their workers late, knowing that they may not make it to their homes on time and avoid the curfew.
Kagwe further challenged the business community to take responsibility, telling employers to offer accommodation for their workers if they cannot release them early.
“What they should not do is to release somebody half an hour before seven or at a time that they are so sure they cant get home by 7 pm. It is unfair to release someone at 6.30 pm, and they live in Thika,” Kagwe said.
After many Kenyans questioned the logic behind the night curfew as a measure to curb the virus spread, the Ministry of Health Director-General Patrick Amoth explained that the decision was informed by science.
Speaking in an interview with a local TV station, Amoth said that according to science, people mingle most in the evening, and it’s hard for the social distancing rule to apply during the night hence increasing the risk of contracting the dreaded coronavirus.
“Curfew time was imposed because it makes scientific sense of the fact that people socialize in the evening, and that’s when they lose the sense of social distancing,” he said.
Yesterday, the country recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases, with 22 people testing positive to the virus.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 88. However, according to the Ministry of Health, all patients are recuperating except for one patient at the intensive care unit at the Agha Khan University hospital.