Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Grand reporter
Licensed bars and nightclubs can now reopen after being closed since March of last year, but only for those fully vaccinated and will still need to follow all other lockdown health rules and opening and cover times. fire allowed.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Minister of Information, Advertising and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the reopening came with the realization that the closure had resulted in lost revenue and jobs for operators and their staff.
“The Cabinet notes with concern that the continued closure of licensed bars and nightclubs has not only caused loss of income and unemployment, but has also resulted in the proliferation of illegal outlets.
“The Cabinet therefore ordered that all licensed bars be open to fully vaccinated customers,” she said.
However, bar owners will be required to ensure that the World Health Organization and national health protocols and guidelines are applied to prevent their licenses from being revoked.
Minister Mutsvangwa said bars should also adhere to curfew times.
In this, they will now be on the same footing as the restaurants, also allowed for a few weeks to be open for seated customers, but only those fully vaccinated and always having to close at 7 p.m.
Details and any variation in hours of operation for hospitality issues will come in the required changes to lockout regulations.
Under the level two lockdown measures, which have been extended for another two weeks, curfew hours extend from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. while businesses operate between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Bottle shops were operating between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and again the amended regulations will announce any changes here.
Bar and club owners said the lifting of the ban on bars and nightclubs was a relief as the closure had caused a chain of negative effects for nearly two years.
Says Mr. Nhamo Zimuto, Owner of Boomerang Bars and Nightclubs: “The announcement brought relief to many people as we lost a lot of income during the time we were not in business. Ours is a massive industry and we employ a lot of people, but as it is, some operators might not be able to reopen because they didn’t generate any money during their shutdown. “
Operators would follow health protocols, he said, to ensure they continue to run their business and recover losses.
Pan-African Development Foundation President Ignatius Pamire said bars and nightclubs paid for their licenses during the time they were not operating and this had become a huge burden on most businesses.
“We welcome the situation where people can now resume their activities. We paid for our licenses despite the fact that we were not operating, so many operators will be keen to resume operations.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs and after such a long time some operators may not even be able to reopen,” he said.
He expressed hope that the government would consider offering a bailout package to some operators to make sure they get out of their predicament and start contributing to the country’s economic recovery.