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By Elia Ntali
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has relaxed the COVID-19 lockdown measures allowing formal and informal businesses to reopen in conformity with World Health Organisation (WHO) set standards.
In his address to the nation, President Mnangagwa said exemption letters for essential services which were a requirement for movement were no longer required with the curfew adjusted from the current 6pm to 530am now starting as late as 10pm.
“Going forward the following review is made to previously announced lockdown measures, the wearing of face masks, temperature checks as well as the washing of hands or use of sanitisers in all public areas remains mandatory.
“The curfew is adjusted and will now be from 10 pm to 5:30 in the morning. Letters are no longer a requirement for movement. Supermarkets can now open up to 7pm to reduce congestion and must enforce social distancing within their premises.
“Industry to open with strict adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO) set standards and national COVID-19 guidelines as such. The regular disinfection of premises, social distancing, hand sanitization and use of body temperature checks at entrances will continue. Noncompliance in this regard will attract targeted closures of such entities.
“As per the previous announcement SMEs, food markets and the informal sectors can re-open on condition that they strictly adhere to the WHO set standards and national COVID-19 guidelines,” said Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa advised schools and tertiary institution to prepare for resumption of classes.
“Schools must prepare to open and put in place measures which observe the WHO protocols and national COVID-19 guidelines. Virtual or long distance learning is encouraged where possible. Universities and colleges must also prepare to open and ensure compliance with the WHO and national COVID-19 guidelines,”
He added “Noncompliance in this regard will attract targeted closures of the respective institutions. Intercity travels can now resume. Bus operators must ensure the disinfection of their buses. Wearing of masks, temperature checks and sanitization of passengers.”
He said bars remained closed with social gathering restricted to not more than 50 people while funeral gatherings remain at 30.
“Funeral gathering to remain at 30 people, other social gathering shall not exceed 50 people. Restaurants can only open for takeaways and deliveries- no sit ins. Beer halls (mabhawa), bars, night clubs, gymnasiums remain closed. Bottle stores must strictly operate takeaways as required by the law. A statutory instrument will outline in detail the above measures.” he said.
Mnangagwa did not give an update on the reopening of land ports of entry.