Bar owners and commuter operators are calling for a relaxation of control measures that the government has continued to deploy since March last year.
According to restaurant operators, taxi operators and fresh produce suppliers the 10 pm-5.30 am countrywide curfew as well as other restrictions imposed on the business have caused huge economic damage.
“We would like to appeal to His Excellency the President to consider our plight and lift the restrictions on operating hours or reduce the curfew hours, if not do away with it altogether. If we continue operating in the current circumstances, our various sectors will continue on a dangerous downhill trend that is likely to result in more suffering and joblessness,” said Petros Mutima, Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Zimbabwe member.
The association estimates that more than 30% of its members have had to close their establishments as a result of the pandemic.
More than one million Zimbabweans have been affected by the closure as each worker is estimated to have five dependents.
Christopher Tinenga, who represents commuter operators in the Mufakose area of Harare, said a lot of his counterparts have been driven into poverty because of the virtual death of the business, which depends on transporting customers at night.
“I request the President to lift the restrictions and allow the economy to operate 24 hours. We are now used to the measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and we are ready and willing to abide by them,” he said.
Brandon Chishiri, a farmer and fresh produce supplier, said having no patrons in bars has hurt their business and made it hard for them to make ends meet.