By Kudakwashe Vhenge
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has today reviewed curfew and business hours.
Zimbabwe businesses will now operate until 4.30PM, from the current 3PM. Consequently curfew moves to 8PM from the current 6PM.
Last month Mnangagwa imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and other travel restrictions, saying the measures are needed to contain rising cases of COVID-19.
A section of Zimbabweans however said the timing of the measures were aimed at stopping anti-government protests planned for July 31.
In an address to the nation, Mnangagwa said the curfew would run from 6 PM to 6 AM, although essential services are exempted from the curfew.
“With effect from tomorrow Wednesday 22 July 2020, all our security services must enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew set to come into force daily between 1800 hours and 0600 hours,” Mnangagwa said.
All non-working sections of the population were required to stay at home, except for purposes of securing food, water and health services as part of the measures.
He cut operating hours for businesses, from 8 am to 3 pm from the usual 4:30 pm, with the exception of providers of essential services.
Only registered small and medium enterprises were allowed to operate and had to adhere to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 regulations.
Food markets were also allowed to remain open but had to observe set measures, while inter-city public transport to rural areas remains banned.
At the time, Mnangagwa said public gatherings for social, religious or political purposes remain banned, with funeral gatherings also remaining curtailed.
In related news, there will be a dedicated lane for public transport on roads to minimise delays.
Mnangagwa’s review comes at a time when South Africa entered Level Two easing a number of restrictions such as the lift on alcohol and tobacco bans. On-site consumption of alcohol is permitted until 10PM whilst liquor outlets can sell liquor from Monday to Thursday, between 9AM and 5PM. The curfew however remains in place from 10PM to 4AM.