. . . as companies, banks downsize amid Covid-19

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Caroline Chiimba  and Bernard Chiketo

COMPANIES continue to close, while banks are opting for temporary closure of some branches as part of measures to mitigate against the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) which is ravaging the world.

In public notices to clients, financial institutions including CBZ, First Capital Bank, Stanbic and Old Mutual outlined bold steps to help protect their clients and the transacting public from any possible Covid-19 infections.

CBZ group chief executive officer Blessing Mudavanhu said from yesterday, cash will no longer be withdrawn from any of their branches except for ATMs, when cash is available.

“In light of the recent developments regarding the coronavirus, we would like ensure the safety and well-being of our customers, community and employees,” said in a statement.

“In order to protect our customers and staff, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Chirundu, Bulawayo Airport, Harare Airport and Kariba branches will be temporarily shut down effective from March 25, 2020.

“Our branches will be offering limited services such as MTA remittances, cash deposits and FCA transactions until further notice. If you require additional transactional business in branch, you are kindly advised to make an appointment with your respective branch manager or relationship manager.”

Mudavanhu encouraged customers to make use of digital platforms like CBZ touch, POS machines and CBZ Internet banking.

First Capital Bank on Monday also wrote informing its clients that they are reducing their branch network by temporarily closing Belmont, Borrowdale, Harare Street and First Street.

Stanbic Bank also issued communication advising of the temporary closure of the institution’s Victoria Falls and Hwange branches as part of its preventive measures against the spread of the Covid-19.

This comes amid the closure of hospitality companies, Leopard Rock Hotel (LRH) and White Horse Inn (WHI) in Mutare as security measures for its employees and families.

Speaking to the Daily News, LRH executive director Samir Shasha said the decision to protect his employees and their families came at a time when most clients who had booked for the hotel were cancelling.

“We have closed the hotel to the public and effectively the public has closed the hotel through cancellations,” Shasha said.

Meanwhile, White Horse Inn managing director Frank Marembo said the decision was motivated at saving lives.

“This, we have decided, is in the best interests of our valuable clients and staff.

“It bodes well with the notion of recognising the sanctity of human life,” Marembo said.

“The responsibility of upholding the importance of human life ahead of monetary gains lies upon all organisations with high levels of people interaction.

“Purveyors of hospitality are the frontline forces in this war for they have little or no room to deny a guest checking into their establishment if their doors remain open and are the most likely first-end recipients of transborder importers of new infections.”

A snap survey by the Daily News last week revealed that several companies have downscaled operations while UN agencies in Zimbabwe have also told their workers to work from home.

The British Council, which is the UK international organisation for educational and cultural exchanges, also closed a library in Bulawayo.

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