Zimbabwe has eased its national lockdown measures, reopening the major sectors of the economy.

After a surge in infections at the beginning of the year, Level 4 national lockdown was reintroduced on January 5.

However, noting a decline in the number of deaths and hospitalisations, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the easing of restrictions during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

He urged Zimbabweans to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, highlighting that wearing masks, washing hands or using hand sanitisers in public areas were still mandatory as they had helped to tame infection rates.

He said there had been a drop in the number of deaths and hospitalisations and urged Zimbabweans to remain vigilant.

Willard Madhombiro, Food and Beverage Manager of the Golden Peacock Villa Hotel in Mutare, commented: “We are optimistic that the easing of the lockdown measures will boost confidence in tourism to Zimbabwe. Tourists will travel without restraint and, for operators, it’s an opportunity to welcome guests and deliver memorable experiences and this sustains business.”

A Bulawayo-based hospitality industry executive added: “The opening of intercity travel is a very welcome move. In September, when lockdown measures were eased, we saw a good pick-up in arrivals into hotels.”

What does the lockdown entail?

•         Curfew is now from 10h00 to 05h30.

•         Permit letters are no longer required for movements within the country.

•         Supermarkets remain open until 19h00.

•         Industries can open while adhering to WHO health and safety guidelines

•         Wearing of masks, temperature checks, washing of hands and use of sanitisers mandatory.

•         Informal sectors can reopen if they strictly adhere to WHO guidelines and National COVID-19 regulations.

•         Intercity travel can now resume; bus operators must ensure disinfection, masks, temperature checks and sanitisation.

•         Social gatherings remain at a maximum of 30 people (funerals). Other      gatherings must not exceed 50 people.

•         Beer halls, bars, night clubs, gyms remain closed.

•         Air travel to Zimbabwe remains unhindered by the new lockdown, but only returning residents and essential services – including commercial and transit cargo carriers – will be allowed to enter the country through the country’s land borders.

•         For visitors arriving by air, tourist facilities and national parks will remain open but will be bound by the adjusted curfew hours.

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