HARARE – Zimbabwe announced a further loosening of its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on Tuesday, opening up restaurants for inside dining and resuming all sporting activities after a 12-month forced hiatus.
The eateries are, however, only allowed to entertain patrons at half capacity, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a news conference.
“Restaurants are now allowed to open for sit-ins at 50 percent sitting capacity, under strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. Those found breaking the restrictions will be closed immediately,” Mutsvangwa warned.
The minister also said “all sporting activities will now resume and observe standard operating procedures,” bringing relief to athletes, especially soccer players who have not kicked a ball since President Emmerson Mnangagwa locked down the country in March last year as the coronavirus pandemic spread its tentacles across the globe.
Mnangagwa has progressively eased restrictions since infections began showing signs of tapering off late in February and allowed the opening of about every sector, including manufacturing, retail and schools subject to observance of World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), which regulates sport in Zimbabwe, welcomed the government announcement but warned respective sporting disciplines that they can only resume action after it has given them a nod.
“The actual resumption of these sports activities is subject to the relevant National Sport Associations (NSA’s) being notified in writing by the Sports and Recreation Commission that they have satisfied the set criteria for resumption,” the SRC said in a statement.
“The medium and high-risk sport codes shall resume only after they have demonstrated their ability to meet the set standard operating procedures and protocols for the containment of Covid-19 which were communicated on Monday 15th March.”
The commission said it will announce on Thursday which “sports can resume activity.”