Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has announced Shs 2.1 billion as a stimulus package for bars ahead of the full reopening of the economy. The funds are geared towards the purchase of materials for space enhancement.

The support, phased over two years, is being extended under the auspices of the Raising the Bar program, an initiative championed by flagship brand, Bell Lager.

The UBL Acting Managing Director, Eunice Waweru said that as a business, they applaud and support the government’s preparedness and response efforts to COVID-19 thus far.

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She said that the Raising the Bar initiative is the Brewery’s effort to work in tandem with the government to support efforts to raise the capacity of bars and enable them to adapt new practices to operate safely following the decision to fully reopen the economy.

“Many bar businesses are in distress following the prolonged period of closure as a result of COVID-19 containment measures. We find it imperative to come in to ease the burden of yet another unprecedented financial shock through Raising the Bar, a program through which we are extending support to enable the safe reopening of bar businesses once Government restrictions are lifted,” she said.

A total of 1,600 bars from Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono have been selected to benefit from the program and will benefit from funding covering space and hygiene enhancement support, provision of awareness training for bars, recreational facilities and similar establishment personnel in the requisite knowledge, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures that are important in the prevention of COVID-19 transmission in establishments that carry Uganda Breweries Products.

“We are going to fund and equip bars in preparation to welcome customers back to the bar safely. This will be done through funding the provision of physical sanitizing points, mobile bars and additional outdoor seating to allow for the desired social distancing and sensitize bar owners and staff on how to adapt their operations to the current times post pandemic. We have the utmost confidence that this program will help bars reopen safely and minimize risk of infection to customers and staff,” said Emmy Hashakimana, Marketing and Innovations Director, Uganda Breweries.

In addition, Uganda Breweries in partnership with Ministry of Health and Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), is also organizing a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive targeted at bar staff, consumers and the general public at various bars and hospitality venues spread across Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.

“Whereas there has been a fair uptake of COVID-19 vaccines resulting in over 12 million doses being administered countrywide, many people still have not received their second dose or are due for booster shots. We call upon bar staff and consumers to turn up in large numbers and get vaccinated to create a safe environment ahead of reopening,” Ms. Waweru said.

Uganda Breweries last year championed efforts to scale up accessibility to vaccines for the general population by extending vaccination to hospitality venues and mass vaccination events bringing on-board various partners from the private sector and cultural institutions including the Buganda Kingdom.

“We appreciate Uganda Breweries for strengthening the national health response to the pandemic in a strong way through mass vaccination drives last year which received an overwhelming response from the public. These vaccination venues will improve access to vaccines bringing services closer to the people. I encourage the public to get vaccinated as a sure way to contain the pandemic,” said Dr. Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health.

The vaccination drive kicked off at Legends bar and restaurant and will run for 14 days. The exercise will be open to everyone receiving first, second and booster shots, however bar staff and patrons are strongly encouraged to participate. Venues will be announced in due course.

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