Formal reopening of bars, performing arts sector in Uganda still pending

Formal reopening of bars, performing arts sector in Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni has noted that the government might consider easing restrictions imposed on the performing arts sector, cinema halls and bars.

The entertainment sector has remained closed since the initial lockdown imposed to forestall the outbreak of coronavirus disease. According to the government, the sector might be hard to control at a time when the country is facing a surge in COVID-19 infections. 

The businesses are linked with large audiences and live performances which have made it practically impossible to function in the wake of a ban on public gatherings.

Researchers have indicated that COVID-19 spreads when someone gets physically near or have direct contact with an infected person. The infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

But President Museveni who addressed the nation on Thursday evening said that the  Ministry of Health is still carrying out studies before they eventually come up with recommendations on how the sector can be reopened, despite the risks involved

The president that the government is already reviewing some suggestions that were made, in regard to how bars can operate, even amidst the pandemic.

He cited an example of having the bar operate in open spaces where a social distance can still be enforced, although he personally thinks this might not be enforceable. 

Despite the continued restriction, a section of individuals in performing arts, music sector, bars and cinema halls have already reopened their businesses with some openly functioning while others are working in disguise. 

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Players in cinema, bar and performing arts got a short-lived smile in December when Uganda National Culture Center [UNCC], a statutory body under the Ministry of Gender, announced the reopening of the arts and culture sector which includes music concerts. 

However, a few hours after the pronouncement, the Ministry of Health raised a red flag noting that none of the said categories of business and activities had been allowed to reopen.