Businesses have received a big boost after the state reviewed curfew-hours from 7pm to 5am to 9pm to 4am asfter President Uhuru Kenyatta relaxed measures aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19.
Supermarkets and banks around the capital now say that they will extend their working hours to serve more customers following Saturday’s directive.
The previous 7pm to 5am curfew hours imposed in April had made the operations difficult for many companies, which had to close earlier to ensure employees and customers got home before the dusk deadline.
Retail Traders Association of Kenya (Retrak) chairman Willy Kimani said reducing the curfew hours to between 9pm and 4am will enable supermarkets to serve an increased number of customers.
Mr Kimani who doubles up as Naivas Supermarkets’ chief commercial officer, said the Naivas will now close at 8pm to give customers more shopping time.
Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka said banks that were closing at 3pm will now revert to the traditional closing hours of 4pm in line with the new curfew adjustments.
“Many branches were closing earlier to enable staff do end of day work and get home in time. The 9pm means they can now work up to normal time and still get home on time,” Mr Olaka said.
Many customers throng supermarkets in the evening but this had been impacted as customers rushed home to beat the 7pm curfew time.
The president noted on Saturday that the initial curfew hours posed challenges for businesses to run on full shifts which hurt revenues.
“This variation should enable Kenyans to have a full work day schedule,”Uhuru said.
Many supermarkets in Nairobi’s Central Business District have been recording reduced numbers of customers as many employees opt to work from home. Those reporting to work have had a challenge to balance between shopping and rushing home.
Tuskys Supermarket which had closed its three branches in April closed three branches – Tom Mboya (Nairobi), Kitale Mega and Digo Road (Mombasa) due to reduced number of shoppers. The retailer also issued a pay cut of 30%, failed to pay some suppliers and restructured loans due to challenges in cash flow.