‘Good riddance’ – Mombasa residents on ministry mask mandate
By Mercy Ndunda
Residents of Mombasa have expressed their joy following Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe’s directive lifting the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.
Many of them claimed that the humidity rate in Mombasa is high, and the masks did more harm that good.
“At least we would now be able to breath properly. The sun is too much to bear and the face mask caused us to experience breathing difficulties.” Said Mr. Kazungu Patrick a resident of Mombasa County.
Mr. Antony Wesonga, a Tuk tuk operator lamented on the cost of face masks, claiming it was becoming too expensive for him given that a packet ranges between Sh.300 to Sh.400.
“I normally get my facemasks at the chemist because they were dust free and each retail for Sh.30. That amounted to Sh.1500 per month. This was too much especially with the high cost of living.” Said Mr. Wesonga.
As the consumers celebrate, the news is no cause for excitement to the retailers, who now have to consider other alternatives.
Mr. Alex Kavisi, a mask seller around Nyali Center, says that selling masks has been his only source of income, earning him approximately Sh.300 to Sh.500 a day.
“Now that business is going to be down am set to stop selling masks and look for other means to survive. The declaration will affect a lot of people in mask selling business but I hope for a better future ahead.” Said Mr. Kavisi.
Despite all the jubilation, others like Ms. Beatrice Wairimu, a sales lady at City Mall Mombasa, still fears that Covid-19 is still among us, terming the directive to be ill advised.
“I still believe that Covid-19 is transmissible and people should still use face masks. Otherwise, we will be forced to go back to where we were due to high positivity rate. The only time the government should lift wearing of face masks is if only the positivity rate is at 0.0%.” Ms. Wairimu said.
Earlier today Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe announced the lifting of wearing face masks in public areas during a press conference on the status of Covid-19, that took place at Afya House, Nairobi.
During his speech, the CS urged Kenyans to continue washing hands, use sanitizers and keeping social distance to avoid being infected.
“Kenyans are encouraged to wear face masks while attending indoor functions. We should now also see the temperature checks in public places stopped.” He added.
The announcement makes Kenya the first African country to make such a move with the current positivity rate being at 1%.