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Zimbabwe President Eases Coronavirus Lockdown, Lifts Rent Payment Freeze

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe remains on Level 2 of the coronavirus lockdown but urged those in the informal sector to register with government so they can reopen their businesses.

In a message broadcast on the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, monitored from Maryland, Mnangagwa appealed to Zimbabweans to be cautious as most of the country’s businesses start operating.

“Although our lockdown remains at Level 2, let us begin to further open up, remembering that we have a role to play. Government, hand in hand with an empowered private sector, will do all in its power to open up the economy, to provide the jobs and the opportunities the people deserve. 'People are urged to travel when it is absolutely necessary … I exhort all the people of Zimbabwe to adapt to the new normal with a new, positive attitude. We are a determined, hardworking people. A people who know how to work closely and cooperatively. United in peace and harmony, we shall overcome.''
Mnangagwa also lifted a moratorium on rent payments and urgent people to travel only when necessary.

“… The moratorium on rent payment, made during the early phases of the lockdown is hereby lifted. Rent arrears can be settled in instalments spread over a period of six months. In this new normal, we must be vigilant. We must not rest. The virus is still with us. It has neither disappeared nor been destroyed. It has neither vanished nor been vanquished; it lives amongst us. So please act with caution. Wear a mask at all times when you are outside your homes.

“Don't cough into your hands and maintain social distance wherever possible. Do not spend time in enclosed spaces with strangers, and ensure that windows are open in workspaces. Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.”

He said businesses people in the informal sector should register before engaging in various operations.

“All our people in the informal sector, who have not formally registered themselves or their enterprises, are directed to do so forthwith. Once they can prove that such registration has been made, they can resume their operations. Upon resuming their work, they are compelled to adhere to the laid down COVID-19 prevention requirements, such as the wearing of masks, washing or sanitization of hands and social distancing.”

He further noted that these regulations should also be observed by churches that were ordered to stop operating following the announcement of coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country.

“Gathering for purposes of worship must remain at a maximum of fifty and in full compliance with all the COVID-19 prevention measures.”

Mnangagwa, who has declared next Monday a day of prayer, said he hoped that the coronavirus disease would soon pass so that Zimbabweans would enjoy their freedoms.

“Zimbabwe must once again be open. The freedoms we promised at the outset of the new dispensation must once again be felt across the whole of our society. Freedom of assembly. Freedoms of speech and religion. Freedom to vote in free and open elections. Freedom to flourish.”

Zimbabwe has recorded 332 cases of coronavirus COVID-19 since March this year. At least four people have died and 51 recovered from the disease.

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