UGANDA – In readiness to the full reopening of the Ugandan economy, Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL), a step-down subsidiary of Diageo through East African Breweries Limited, has unveiled US$1m stimulus package for bars and restaurants.
The support, phased over two years, is being extended under the auspices of the ‘Raising the Bar’ program, an initiative championed by UBL’s flagship brand, Bell Lager.
According to the brewer, the funding seeks to revive the hospitality sector through the provision of Covid-19 safety equipment, merchandise, and training for space and hygiene enhancement.
The East African nation imposed some of Africa’s toughest restrictions aimed to curb spread of the pandemic such as closing bars and night clubs since March 2020.
In her address at the launch, the UBL Acting Managing Director (MD), Eunice Waweru said that as a business, UBL applauds the Government of Uganda’s preparedness and response efforts to COVID-19 thus far and will do as much as they can to support the same efforts.
Ms. Waweru 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.” Ms. Waweru said.
A total of 1,600 bars from Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono have been selected to benefit from the program.
They will gain funding to cover 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.
Further beefing up its support to put the virus at bay, the brewery in partnership with Ministry of Health and Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), is set to organize a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Scheduled to take place for 14 days, the initiative targets bar staff, consumers and the general public at various bars and hospitality venues spread across Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.
Venues for the vaccination will include Legends Bar and Restaurant, The Alchemist Bar and Kitchen, Samiito Bar and Lounge – Naalya, Kyadondo Rugby Club, Nansana, Mukono and Old Taxi Park.
“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 added.
Last year, UBL 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.
UBL’s sister companies Kenya Breweries Limited and Serengeti Breweries Limited in Kenya kick started their respective raising the bar initiatives last year with support from British parent company Diageo.