Restaurant operators say they are delighted that the government has allowed them to open for sit-ins at 50 percent sitting capacity after being closed for two and half months.
Since the Government initiated the lockdown at the start of the year after a spike in cases following the festive season, restaurants have been open only for takeaways.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday announced the new measures that restaurants were now allowed to open for sit-ins at 50% sitting capacity, under strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines. Those found breaking the restrictions will be closed immediately.
In a statement, Bongai Zamchiya President of the Restaurant Operators Association of Zimbabwe said they are delighted that they have been granted permission to open for sit-down diners who are their key customer base.
“Sit-down dinners are our key clientele, that’s where we drive most of our income from,” said an elated Zamchiya.
He said restaurants have been at the forefront in terms of application of rules of safety and hygiene rules since the start of the Coronavirus crisis and they will continue to adhere strictly to the government regulations on COVID-19.
“As Restaurant Operators Association of Zimbabwe we remain supportive of the national effort to contain and eliminate COVID-19. The association looks forward to continued efforts to serve the best interests of restaurateurs, in collaboration with relevant Ministries, and agencies,” said Zamchiya.
Zamchiya said they are grateful to all operators in the restaurant trade for their resilience in the past two and a half months, and thanks are also given to those people who have brought about this reopening for sit-down dining. In particular cabinet of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Services along with the Zimbabwe Tourism authority and various industry stakeholders.
“We are looking forward to once again playing our role in the economy, both within the community and also for the tourist trade,” said Zamchiya.
Mr Zamchiya said it is estimated that as at March 2020 the number of employees in the trade was between 9 500 and 11 000, with a further 2 500 contract workers gaining regular work during periods of high demand, such as December, or such as during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, and so on.
“Since the initial 30 March lockdown last year up to 100 restaurants have not re-opened and it is estimated that as many as 2 000 jobs have been lost with loss of contract work affecting as many as 2 000 contract workers. It is reported that no contract work has been offered in December which is usually a busy month,” said Zamchiya.
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