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Revealed: Revellers' tricks to beat curfew rules

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Revealed: Revellers' tricks to beat curfew rules by Kenyans247(1): Fri 25, December, 2020 09:30am
As the world celebrates Christmas amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenyans have devised ways to drink well into curfew hours and avert police arrests.

In Mombasa, the youth are booking hotels near bars and clubs, where they party well past the 10pm curfew time.

Mr John Ochieng, one of those who have booked three rooms in a club within the Mombasa Central Business District, said they had no option, yet they were keen to celebrate the holidays.

"We have to celebrate. The law allows residents to be sold beer, which is why we had to book hotel rooms with my friends despite having a house in Mombasa mainland. All my friends are Mombasa residents but we do not want a confrontation with the police past curfew time," said Mr Ochieng.

The Nation found that most of the hotels are booked by locals and for only one day night.

For most families, Christmas day means spending time together, attending church and travelling upcountry. However, this year, many people have chosen to celebrate differently due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For Barbara Opati, a guest relations officer at a Mombasa hotel, this year's Christmas celebration will not be any different. She is working over the holidays and will be busy attending to guests and organising events at her workplace in Shanzu, Mombasa.

"I am already used to working around Christmas, so this is not the first time. In this profession you do not spend time with family over Christmas. I will visit them in January once the holiday is over," said Ms Opati.

Cocktail shakers and mixers
Cocktail shakers and mixers: Kenyans have devised ways to drink well into curfew hours.

AFP
She said despite not being able to have 'normal' celebrations, she is grateful that she can work at a time when most people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.

The 26-year-old said they had to take salary cuts when business was low and hotels had to close. But with the festive season, she was hopeful that she will go back to receiving her normal salary.

"Not having enough money to spend and later celebrate with my friends is sad. But the little I get, I hope to share with my family upcountry. I hope that at the end of this month, we will be paid a better salary," she said.

Ms Anita Chemtai, a resident of Mtwapa, was hoping to spend the day with his family in Eldoret. However, on Christmas eve, she was stranded at the Mwembe Tayari bus park in Mombasa, waiting for a vehicle to ferry her to Eldoret town.

"I think I will be home very late and the celebrations will have already begun and chicken prepared. I wanted to be there early enough," she said, adding that she had to work until December 23 before beginning her travel arrangements.

Ms Chemtai fears she may spend the night on the road due to the night curfew, which begins at 10pm. She further urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to ease some of the measures put in place to contain Covid-19 this season and let people travel overnight.

It takes about 16 hours for vehicles travelling from Mombasa to reach destinations like Eldoret.

As a Covid-19 patient, Mr John Mutua, a Mombasa resident, has been forced to be in isolation during the Christmas holiday. He tested positive close to two weeks ago.

"I was tested on December 11 and my results came out positive on December 14. I was then advised to isolate for 14 days and I am expected to go back to normal life as from December 28," he explained.

Normally, he would have spent Christmas morning in church and later unite with his extended family.

"Personally, I am not planning to celebrate Christmas this year because I will be doing it in a sick mode. My family tested negative and have had to travel, leaving me behind," he said, explaining that it is the first time he be will spending the festive season away from his family.

And 22-year-old Anthony Kipchirchir will be playing football on Christmas day in Mombasa. Normally, he says, he spends the day with his family after closing school during the holidays, but this year is different.

"Rather than travelling home in these tough times, I decided to stay in Mombasa. Football is my hobby. I do not have a problem playing it on this day," he said.

Mr Kipchirchir, a university student, said he will be joining his family in the Rift Valley, despite fears that travelling when most places are crowded might increase his risk of contracting the coronavirus.

scece@ke.nationmedia.com and akitimo@ke.nationmedia.com

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