Club owners rue lockdown

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NIGHT club owners are counting their losses because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown as their beer stocks expire while on the other hand they continue to pay rentals and related bills.

The aforementioned has forced some night clubs and bars to fold.

In March, the government put in place a lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, banning night clubs, kombis and other non-essential businesses from operating.

The Daily News on Sunday spoke to several club owners who felt government I doing little to help to cushion their businesses from total collapse.

Club Joy Centre proprietor David Mudzudzu said while they appreciate the government’s efforts in fighting Covid-19, authorities should also address their plight as business people who have overheads. “We have rentals to pay for our premises, our workers need their wages and imagine what will happen to the stock which we had in March; some of it has already expired while some of the products will expire soon.”

Mudzudzi said the majority of club owners are already out of business, rendering their employees jobless. “We are just imploring the authorities so they allow us to operate just for a few hours. We are willing to serve our customers through the window (take-aways) so we can clear our stocks.”

Benjamin Nyandoro who runs Padziva club concurred with Mudzudzu saying the Covid-19 continued lockdown has been bad for their business. “Besides Covid-19 we have been surviving by trying out a lot of things to stay afloat.

Yes, the lockdown has made it worse but we have to adjust and hang in there.”
Seasoned club manager Yasin Dhala, who is currently managing City Sports Bar in the capital said bar owners and managers are suffering in their homes.

“It is really tough out here and the most painful thing is to see your family sleeping on empty stomachs. We have had nothing to do for the past months because of Covid-19 induced national lockdown. The government should intervene to save the situation.

“We are willing to operate within the stipulated hours; during the day just to make ends meet. Imagine we are paying rentals, electricity and water among other monthly rates yet we are not generating anything,” Dhala said.

Marondera’s Club Werras proprietor Samuel ‘Boss Werras’ Saungweme said the closure of businesses owing to Covid-19 has become a huge expense for them as they have to pay for rentals on premises not in use. “It is no longer a business but an expense for us. We now have to take money from some of our savings to cover the rentals and welfare of employees. Some of our products had expiry; we had to move them out cheaply, which again was a loss.”
While night clubs operators are in a fix, enterprising Zimbabweans are cashing in on selling the wise waters illegally, through shebeens.

The police have since launched an operation to arrest all those who breach liquor laws and the majority of the shebeens are located in most high density suburbs.

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