BY VANESSA GONYE
RESTAURANT operators yesterday said the continued extension of COVID-19-induced lockdown without financial support or stimulus packages for ailing businesses would severely affect their industry.
Restaurant Operators Association of Zimbabwe (ROAZ) official Karen Mutasa told NewsDay that most players in the sector were struggling to keep afloat as their expenses were now more than what they made monthly.
“Lockdowns can only work when there is financial support or stimulus packages to ailing businesses from government,” Mutasa said.
He added: “The industry is not making money, and instead, we have to spend more money on COVID-19 tests and other overheads. Farmers and down the line suppliers have lost hundreds of thousands of their produce which is being thrown away because the restaurant business in not fully operational to be able to buy their goods.
“ROAZ members are 100% vaccinated and they feel punished by this extended lockdown. There will be serious hardships, loss of jobs in the restaurant industry, and loss of livelihoods.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu said: “The reduction of operating hours will result in declining revenues for businesses. The reduced time is compounded if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 as the business is forced to shut down for a minimum of three days to test all employees and disinfect the premises. CZR urges all retail and wholesale employees to take the COVID-19 jab and save businesses from escalating costs.”