Businesses, such as bars and nightclubs, are bracing for the impact of new regulations, that set a closing time for all night-time activities.
The regulations come into effect at Thursday midnight.
According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), commercial entertainment venues such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and liquor stores must close at 1:00 am from Monday to Friday and at 2:00 am on Saturday and Sunday.
The new guidelines, which are meant to regulate night-time entertainment and noise pollution, take effect on September 1.
Establishments such as pharmacies, supermarkets, factories and call centres are exempted from the new regulations.
Bar and nightclub operators said they were yet to assess the impact of the new regulations.
“We have seen the guidelines and we are ready to comply with them. Apparently, our business will be affected, but for now we don’t yet know how much of an impact it will be,” said Samuel Mugisha, owner of Maison Noire, which has a bar and a nightclub located in Kicukiro.
For Yvonne Ahishyize, the manager of Iwacu +250, which also has a bar and nightclub, they were reconsidering rescheduling some of their services.
“We have to adapt our services to the new regulations, for example by opening the club earlier than we used to do when we were allowed to operate day and night,” Ahishyize said.
“It is not clear yet how the regulations will affect the number of people we employ, say waiters and entertainers, but we will have to review our shift schedule. And our revenues will be impacted,” she said.
Moise Mahe, the owner of Molato, a bar and restaurant based in Remera, said: “Due to the nature of our business, we start receiving customers usually at 11PM and onwards. So, the new regulations will have an impact on our employees.”
Molato’s management said in the worst case about 40 per cent of their workers may be laid off. “Of course, we are concerned, but we need to see the impact first and then we may ask the government to reconsider their decision,” he said.
Mahe said he and his team were hoping that with time people will change their behaviour and start to go out earlier.
The RDB said establishments may request for authorisation to open after hours in case they have special events, concerts or other valid reasons.
“We don’t know if any business can request for the authorisation to operate after hours. There needs to be some clarification,” Mugisha said.