By Kampala Sun writer
Evans Wandera, the manager of Nexus Lounge in Najjera, is more excited about reopening on Monday when lockdown restrictions are eased than when he was handed the keys to the lounge recently.
“We are all systems go,” Wandera says. “I just can’t wait to open, it’s been so long. This relaunch is like starting a new business all over again, but actually this is a much bigger deal – it has to work.” He beams in anticipation.
During the lockdown, many had written an epitaph on Nexus Lounge. It was earmarked among those to bite the dust. The new manager is eager to prove the doubters wrong.
“We have gone all out for the re-opening. Everything is new as we look to give our patrons a memorable experience,” he reveals.
Nexus Lounge, like thousands of other pubs, was forced to close in 2020 as the national lockdown was brought in to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Like others, it operated the restaurant section until curfew time as they waited on the Presidential directive to fully open the economy. “On the day the economy was closed and partially reopened but with bars and nightlife closed, we opened the restaurant side and those who remember, the late Ivan Kakooza had started food delivery to different homes,” Wandera recalls.
He says they are fully prepared to receive patrons, some of whom they have not seen in two years.
“We will be fully open on Monday ( 24, January) but the official opening will happen on Friday in a big grand reopening event known as the Kampala Shut down. There will be all industry players entertaining our crowd for free,” he reveals.
He further adds, “Because Covid is still here, as management of Nexus, we shall still operate with SOPs in position to further do away with the Covid-19 pandemic,”
He says that over the past two years, they have changed a few things.
“ We have managed to divide the bar into different sections like the Sports Bar section which has over 5 screens, there is a Lounge and an open area so it will depend on where one wants to sit as they enjoy their day or evening,” he says.
On the security front, he says they have recreated more personnel to work at the entrance, among the crowd, the parking lot and the washrooms. He reveals that they have made the place sound proof the decibel levels will not affect patients at the nearby Najjera Hospital.
He admits that the past few months have been the most difficult in the bar business. “People think we’ve had so much time off, but it’s not been time off,” he says. “It’s been time stressing about money. It’s been frankly awful, but you’ve got to stay positive. There are too many people down too. So, now is the time to celebrate with them,” he concludes.