Players in the tourism sector in Malindi, Kilifi County are crying foul that the Covid-19 vaccination drive currently going on has sidelined them. – By Ramadhan Kambi.
As frontline workers dealing with foreigners and people from different parts of the country and world wondered why they have not been considered for the jab.
They said in other counties, the hoteliers are considered a priority in the fight against the pandemic but little efforts were being made to them.
Speaking in Malindi during the monthly clean-up exercise organized by Progressive Welfare Association of Malindi (PWAM) they said that their counterparts in Nairobi and Mombasa are being vaccinated but that has not happened in Kilifi.
According to Ms Maureen Awuor who is the chairperson of the Kenya Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association, the Vaccine for the tourism Industry was rolled out in Nairobi but is yet to be affected in Kilifi.
“We are still expecting that we are going to get the vaccination which we have not been given. Some counties like Nairobi had already dedicated some vaccines for the frontline workers in the hotel industry, Nairobi did that Mombasa did that but other counties like our county it is not happening,” she said.
Ms Awuor who is also the General Manager of Ocean Beach Resort and Spa in Malindi told journalists that she had spoken with the Kilifi tourism Executive Nahida Athman but there is no response to date.
The GM said this monthly clean up was different due to the Covid-19 pandemic as each stakeholder cleaned their areas from hotels which is different from the normal clean-ups when people come together to clean the town in the identified areas.
“Whatever I will tell the stakeholders today is that it’s good to have a teamwork, it is good to work together because the environment is very important, we have to clean our environment and keep it clean always not just the days of the clean-up but every time,’’ she said.
Mr Michael Gichohi from the popular Casino Malindi said as tourism stakeholders, they are not happy in the manner in which the county government was treating them on the vaccination against covid 19 as they have not been vaccinated.
He said Casino Malindi has over 100 staff members who deal mainly with foreign guests and wondered why they have not been given priority in the vaccination drive.
“Every time we asked about that we are not we a not on the first phase we stakeholders in the hotel industry we need to be vaccinated because we are dealing with foreigners who are coming on a daily basis and would want our staff to be vaccinated,” he said.
He said most of the foreigners are vaccinated as of now but would want to see staff who are safe too working in a safe environment.
“I am sure if everybody is vaccinated that is going to boost our business because everybody will see like we are operating a casino that is Covid-19 free,” he said.
He added that they cleaned Lamu road from Vera Cruz together with the beach road along the casino Malindi area.
Mr Ismail Muhsin a businessman in Malindi who owns Alhashmyre supermarket said the new wave of Covid-19 from India is worse and urged Kenyans to take precautions by ensuring they wear masks, wash hands to prevent the spread of the pandemic in their homes.
“We would urge Kenyans to wear masks for protection. They must understand that they are not wearing the mask for police officers but they wear it to protect themselves,” he said.