Back to Africa Check

No ‘total ban’ on alcohol sales in Kenya 

A post shared on Facebook claims to show a “special issue” of a legal notice published in the Kenya Gazette

The notice is titled “Public Health (Covid-19 Prohibition of Sale of Alcoholic Drinks) Rules 2020” and appears to completely ban the sale of alcohol, a measure adopted in other countries to slow the spread of Covid-19

“Alcoholic drinks shall not be sold at restaurants, eateries, bars, food courts, and entertainment joints and wines and spirits shops,” it reads.

“Bars, night clubs, wines and spirits shops and entertainment joints engaged in the sale of alcoholic drinks shall remain closed effective 27 July 2020.”

It goes on: “Any person consuming alcoholic drinks in any of the public places mentioned in the gazette notice will be violating the law and will be on conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both.” 

It appears to have been signed by health minister Mutahi Kagwe on 24 July. 

But is the document genuine? We checked.

President forbids alcohol sales in restaurants for 30 days

President Uhuru Kenyatta did issue a directive on 27 July banning “the sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in eateries and restaurants” for 30 days. 

“Bars shall remain closed until further notice,” the president said, adding that bars that broke the rule risked having their licenses withdrawn. 

But supermarkets and liquor stores in Kenya are still open for business and can still sell alcohol. 

We also checked the gazette notice issued on 24 July and the special issue published the same day, and did not find any notice about a total ban on alcohol in Kenya.  

‘Fake,’ says interior ministry

On 31 July, Kenya’s interior ministry tweeted a screenshot of the notice circulating on Facebook, with “FAKE” stamped in red across it. They warned the public to “beware of a fake gazette notice”. – Grace Gichuhi


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.