New lockdown regulations which were announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday are not relaxed enough to allow the smooth operation of businesses, Zimbabwean restaurants have said.
Announcing the new lockdown measures, the president said local restaurants can now operate albeit without sit-ins to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Commenting on the new lockdown regulations, Restaurant Operators’ Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr. Bongai Zamchiya, said there is a need to allow sit-ins in local restaurants. He said:
We had hoped for re-opening of restaurants in the March 1 update announcement, with permission for half-capacity service for sit-down dining, but this has not happened.
In fact, most restaurants are faced with full costs related to rentals, wages and other inputs, but we have no income, while those that are able to do takeaways report income of between eight and 20 percent of pre-lockdown levels.
We are, quite literally, at a crossroads and we appeal for urgent attention to avert a disaster for the trade and many of its suppliers.
Zamchiya added that the new lockdown regulations were still choking Zimbabwean restaurants adding that if the status quo continues, might force them to close as they are failing to meet operational costs.
He also observed the importance of restaurants to national economic growth citing their remittances to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).