Rwanda: opening cafes and restaurants to stay afloat

Several bars in Kigali have converted their space into restaurants, shops and cafes to circumvent the loss of income caused by Covid-19 containment measures.

Bars, like the gambling sector, are among businesses that have remained missing on the list of those considered in the economy’s gradual reopening undertaken since June 1 due to their perceived risks of fuelling a rise in the coronavirus infections.

With their closure now entering the sixth month, bar operators say they have been forced to reinvent their bistro business to solely focus on meals as hopes for resuming continue to fade.

A section of them indicate that losses in addition to accumulating bills in rent has weighed down many while others are on the verge of collapse if they don’t transform into something else in the sectors that are permitted to operate under the current health guidelines.

“Now except those who operate in their own structures hence not owing rent to anyone, no one else can afford to remain shut for unspecified period. Now there is little hope that bars are going to be allowed back in business soon,”

– said Sonia Uwamahoro, whose bar business based in Muhima openned doors as a restaurant last week. Ms Uwamahoro said landlords for the bar space normally demand three to four months’ rent in advance, only a few operators managed to raise the money while remaining shut.


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