Econet Wireless has begun reopening its shops following the lifting of some COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown restrictions.
But the company cautioned customers to be patient as it ramps up processes in and around its shops to balance quick service turnaround and ensuring public safety. Econet said in a statement:
We would like to advise our customers that we have begun the process of safely reopening our shops to the public.
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We have put in place public health and safety measures to protect both our staff and customers, and are now working to speed up service delivery at all our customer service centres.
It, however, said pent-up demand from over a month in which customers could not physically access its shops meant that some of its service centres were, in the short term, getting overwhelmed by customers in need of urgent service. The statement added:
We earnestly implore our customers to be patient with us – particularly those coming to collect cash remittances from abroad and those in need of SIM card replacements – as we work to clear the backlog that built up during the lockdown.
It said logistical delays in moving hard currency into the country during the lockdown had caused shortages of the physical US dollars at remittance cash-out centres.
We import the US dollars and hard currency we dispense at our cash redemption shops. But due to the world-wide lockdown, which particularly affected air and cross-border travel, we have had some delays in getting imported foreign currency into the country. But we are working flat out to address this so that we clear all outstanding remittance payouts.
So high was the demand for service yesterday that some Econet shops in Harare and Bulawayo had to bring in extra security to maintain order among restless customers seeking to be served.