Bars in Uganda spend heavily on renovations ahead of reopening

Bars in Uganda spend heavily on renovations ahead of reopening
Renovation works at Vox Lounge

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Bars and pubs in Kampala and surrounding areas are undergoing renovations in preparation for the resumption of their operations after spending nearly two years of closure.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni closed bars and all places of social gatherings when he announced the nationwide lockdown in March 2020, as part of the COVID-19 containment measures.

In his new year address, Museveni announced the full reopening of the economy. He said all entertainment spots would resume normal operations on January 24th, 2022. As a result, the proprietors of the bars and pubs have started renovations, giving their premises a facelift ahead of the scheduled reopening.

Our reporter visited some popular bars and spots around Kampala and found a beehive of activities. Some of the workers could be seen painting the buildings, others testing the machines while others were fixing new furniture.

Deogratious Matovu, the manager of Vox Lounge says that despite the extended lockdown, they kept some staff and continued paying their utility bills. He explains that most of their equipment like television sets, sound systems, lights, and workers uniforms were destroyed by mice.

He says that they need not less than Shillings 15 million to replace the furniture and carry out renovation works.

Daniel Lwasa, the business manager at the Iconic Club Nexus in Najeera explained that the lockdown hit them hard as the bar proprietor succumbed to COVID-19. He says that they trimmed down staff from 67 to only 20 people to keep the restaurant running.

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He explains that they need about Shillings 100 million for repairs, renovations, and replacements of spoilt equipment like pizza machines, warmers, and sound systems among others as well as making new innovations like the introduction of artificial turf.

Our reporter found workers at Kush Lounge along John Babiiha avenue repairing and fixing furniture, trimming and slashing grass, and painting in preparation for the reopening.

George Okitela, the manager Kush Lounge says that at the time of the lockdown, the facility had just opened. “To keep the hope alive, we kept only two for the restaurant to receive and prepare online orders,” he said.

Okitela said that they are getting ready for the reopening and most of their customers are calling to check on whether the facility is coming back in business. “Many of our equipment are spoilt but we are soliciting money from all possible sources to get them back to operation,” Okitela said.