On Tuesday, Zimbabwe adopted new lockdown measures that put certain restrictions on businesses.
- On Tuesday, Zimbabwe adopted new lockdown measures that put certain restrictions on businesses.
- Commerce and industry may only operate between 08:00 and 15:00
- Workers at marketplaces, tobacco auction floors and cotton sales floors must be vaccinated before they can operate, the Zimbabwean president has said.
Zimbabwe is adopting level 4 lockdown measures which will curb working hours, despite calls from business leaders to maintain normal working activities.
In an announcement on national television on Tuesday evening, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that commerce and industry may only operate between 08:00 and 15:00. The country’s population must stay at home between the hours of 18:30 and 06:00.
Industry was also ordered to decongest workplaces to 40%, although all commercial vehicles are to remain running.
Mnangagwa also said workers at marketplaces, tobacco auction floors and cotton sales floors must be vaccinated before they can operate. Those who refuse, will not be allowed to continue working, he said.
The new measures, which Mnangagwa said would be reviewed in the next two weeks, follows a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. Localised lockdown measures were already introduced in places such Karoi, Kwekwe, Kariba and Chinhoyi.
As at Monday, the seven-day rolling average for new cases had increased to 727 from 342 a week before.
A week ago, Zimbabwe had recorded 1 691 deaths, but the number has since increased to 1 749 deaths.
Business not entirely in agreement
The new lockdown measures come a few days after the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) said a blanket national lockdown with tight restrictions on business operations will reverse recent signs of recovery.
“[A] total lockdown may compound the problems that we are beginning to see being resolved as business sentiment was gradually becoming positive and bullish,” EMCOZ president Israel Murefu said in a statement.
EMCOZ recommended that businesses operating in areas not designated as hotspots must continue operating without disruptions.
The Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) said a total lockdown would cripple the travel and tourism sector, which is already struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
TBCZ president Wengayi Nhau said there was an unprecedented decimation of livelihoods and incomes for families and communities experienced in the wake of full lockdown measures.
“The travel and tourism sector is starting to recover from the effects of this and it is hoped to regain a momentum to rebuild the sector, most especially to re-employ the thousands of people who have lost jobs and bring a measure of relief to the tens of thousands of people in families and communities affected by these job losses and business closures,” Nhau said.
“Without in any way discounting the horror of Covid-19, there are ways that do not destroy lives through economic ruin and it is these ways that must be identified and implemented.”
But industry organisation Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) support an intervention, with CZR president Denford Mutashu saying a 30-day lockdown will help turn the tide against the pandemic.