Covid- 19 presented uncertainty in many spheres of our lives and the public is anxious to get back to normal operations. In view of this, the Federation of Kenya Employers on 20th May 2020 brought together experts in various fields through its 7th Webinar to examine whether Kenya is safe to reopen for business. The panellist Kwame Owino, the Chief Executive Officer Institute of Economic Affairs, Mike Macharia, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers and Dr. Elizabeth Wala, Program Director, Health Systems Strengthening, AMREF Health in Africa explored the economic, business and health perspective respectively.
Here is what our participants had to say about Kenya’s preparedness to resume work;
1.Kenya’s capacity to test is very low in comparison to other countries. Therefore, the Government needs to enhance this so that the decision to resume work is based on adequate statistics.
2.According to data released by the Boston Consulting group, Kenya stands within the high infection category rate so no need to rush to get back to work prematurely.
3.Tourism and hospitality industry is hardest hit since businesses had to close down immediately based on the trends from source markets like Europe and China
4.To consider a revamp of products being offered. For instance, products that factor in the rules of social distances e.g. a hotel with capacity of 100 will not have the capacity to do so anymore
5.Data capturing is essential. Currently, it is unclear whether Kenya is ready for restart, given limited available data on health care capacity and testing in the public
What are the risks the Country faces?
•New wave on infection if citizens are not careful and don’t adhere to the regulations
•Psychological trauma for those who will not have gone back to work or those who lost colleagues and friends at work
•Low chances of investing in the businesses due to the long-depressed economy
•Larger scramble for a piece of the small pie due to price depression, high competition, increase in airline prices among other
•Significant need for regional coordination in terms of testing and contact tracing measures
•Safety and health protocols for businesses airlines, pubs and restaurants
•Government to provide businesses with incentives
•Training in health and safety is very important
•Communicate frequently since the comms is never treated seriously or the general public is in doubt
Eventually, the move to resume normal operations remains a delicate balance between public health and safety versus the impact on the economy. A cautious, phased out and gradual approach having covered all gaps. For citizenry, the low number of cases reported is not an indication that we have flattened the curve, lets religiously observe the containment measures.
The Federation will continue to provide such forums to allow members and interested organizations to participate and share their views. To become a member of FKE find out more here:- http://www.fke-kenya.org/site/index.php/join-fke/membership-benefits.