Hotel workers in Kenya have taken to the streets to protest against the lockdown measures announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta. In a State address last week, the President announced new measures mainly targeting the one-zoned disease-infested area.
The counties in the zone include Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado. During the period, sale of alcohol and sit-in customers in restaurants and bars was suspended. Eateries are only allowed to sell take-away meals.
The measures came amid a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country with the infection rate currently at 22 percent. In Nairobi alone, the President said the infection rate was at 57 percent.
Residents were given a 48 hour period after which movement in and out of the one-zoned area was restricted. No travel by air, road or rail is allowed into and out of the zone.
Kenyans have complained over the measures in place, saying the President did not take into account the plight of hotel workers. The government did not offer a stimulus or fall back plan for those directly affected by the lockdown, leaving lots of citizens in financial distress.
I work as a waitress at Alfajiri grill kilimani.Prior to surge in numbers there were political gatherings all over in the name of pro & anti BBI.Unfortunately me and other low class kenyans are paying for this carelessness by losing our jobs #UnlockOurCountry
Nairobi Hospital pic.twitter.com/60Dc87A3lp
— Depressed Kenyan 🇰🇪 (@miss_wakin) March 31, 2021
Taking to the streets today, the hotel workers said they had suffered through 2020, and had only started paying off their rent arrears. They said their families lacked food and they had lost their jobs as a result of the measures in place. They are now demanding that the lockdown be lifted through a hashtag #Unlockourourcountry that seems to have gained momentum since yesterday
Last year, the government put in place a lockdown but followed it through with financial relief. Money transfer charges were reduced and cut off for amounts below one thousand, basic commodities were zero rated with tax on most household items reduced.
PAYE was also capped to a minimum on salaries below a certain amount. The measures gave a financial reprieve to users despite the lockdown.
Below is a video of the hotel workers protesting