President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday announced a 14-day extension of the coronavirus lockdown, albeit with eased conditions, together with a Z$18 billion economic rescue and stimulus package.
The eased “Phase 2” lockdown comes with a requirement for everyone to wear a face mask (including homemade) in public. While companies will be allowed to operate between 0800hrs and 1500hrs, informal traders, where most Zimbabweans eke out a living, remain restricted with the exception of agriculture and food supply.
Only Zupco will be permitted to offer public transport with passengers subjected to temperature screening. Kombis remains restricted.
Place of worship, bars, bottle stores, gyms and other recreational facilities will remain closed.
Health workers received a surprise income tax break for at least six months.
Mnangagwa said schools would remain closed: “We have been consulting with parents, and discussions are ongoing. It is clear, however, that our country is not yet in a position to reopen schools and colleges. A number of conditions must be met to guarantee safety of students and teachers.”
“The reopening strategy will prioritise classes that are writing exams this year. In the meantime, we’re working on online classes. Reopening dates will be made at the appropriate time. For now, schools remain closed,” he added.
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank printers are likely readying for some hard work after the surprise announcement of a not insignificant Z$18 billion (US$360 million) economic rescue package. – Kukurigo