1THE government yesterday eased lockdown measures further, allowing businesses to operate for 12 hours, but indicated that the fight against coronavirus (Covid-19) is yet to be won.
The relaxation was in line with Statutory Instrument 216 of 2020, which among other issues operationalises the resumption of the aviation sector, regulates tourism operations under the lockdown and the special provisions for liquor licences.
Announcing the relaxed measures yesterday in the capital, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “As part of gradually opening the economy, the government has extended operation hours for the retail, wholesale and service businesses from 8am-4.30pm to 6.30am-6.30pm.”
Mutsvangwa said while the majority of Covid-19 positive cases have been mild, the government is concerned about the high number of deaths.
“As we continue to ease our lockdown measures, we need to bear in mind that we are not over the hill yet.
“We have so far lost 222 of our fellow Zimbabweans to Covid-19 as of the 11th of September 2020. The most affected provinces are the Metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.
“In light of these high death numbers, the government will continue to prepare our facilities so as to be able to cope with any potential spike in infections,” she said.
The government announced last week that they would be opening several sectors, including tourism.
Consumption of alcohol has also been opened up for sit-in patrons at various places such as restaurants.
“Licensees that may sell liquor to customers for consumption off the premises during licensed hours include wholesalers, wine producers and bottle stores.
“Licensees who may sell liquor to customers for consumption on the premises during licensed hours include restaurants, airports, recreational park areas, houseboats, camps and caravan parks. Licensees that may sell liquor to customers for consumption on premises during licensed hours include casinos and theatres,” Mutsvangwa said.
“As we gradually open the economy, we need to remember that we are doing this while taking all necessary precautions to fight the invisible enemy, Covid-19. The easing of lockdown restrictions is not an indication that we have defeated this pandemic, but we are a nation seeking to balance between our economic interests and the protection of life,” the minister added.