industry will engage Government on how some companies that have 24-hour operations can be accommodated without violating the curfew provisions.
This comes after Zimbabwe tightened restrictions meant to curb the spread of coronavirus, including a 6am to 6pm nationwide curfew and banning of non-essential businesses with effect from today. In the past few weeks, Zimbabwe has recorded a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths and the latest round on restrictions will keep everyone not in essential services at home expect when they need to buy food or medicine, collect water or seek medical attention among other essential needs.
Zimbabwe first introduced a tough lockdown in March last year but had gradually eased the restrictions. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry said it is engaging the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for smooth implementation, which ensures consistency in information and expectations at checkpoints.
“We are negotiating on how those that require 24 -hour shifts can be accommodated without violating the curfew provisions,” said CZI in a guidance note to members.
However, manufactures are likely to be less affected by the latest Covid-19 restrictions as some are still on annual shut down. Traditionally, most companies re-open during the second or third week of January after completing annual maintenance.
But some analysts do not expect the extension of the Level Four national lockdown, arguing the Government and other stakeholders should rather focus more on observing health and safety standards. They also noted the effectiveness of the measures hinges largely on people’s willingness to comply with it.
Individuals also need to change how they behave. “Going forward, I think it is a matter of making sure that people adhere to proper safety standards than resorting to national lockdown,” said Mr Carlos Tadya, a researcher with a local think tank.
Meanwhile, retailers and wholesalers have welcomed new lockdown measures announced by Government as an important step towards curbing the spread of Covid-19.
In welcoming the latest measures, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) encouraged businesses to observe the health and safety standards. “As Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) we applaud the Government for stepping in by invoking tough measures to stop a looming catastrophe amid rising cases of Covid-19,” its president Mr Denford Mutashu said in a statement yesterday.
“We are in an extraordinary situation which calls for extraordinary measures and discarding the business as usual approach, therefore, we should adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
“The measures are necessary to save lives. CZR calls upon members to adhere to the new measures which means opening and closing shops within the set timelines.”
Mr Mutashu said the retailers lobby group had noticed that some shops had become too negligent to an extent that some customers were no longer going through the Covid-19 precautions before getting into supermarkets. He also called on membership to decongest the workplace and operate with critical staff.