There was a commotion on the first day of Zimbabwe’s lockdown level two as most workers were still stuck by midday at bus terminals after failing to get transport to their respective workplace.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week announced the resumption of work for the formal sector but the unavailability of public transport buses was the talk of the day.
Most people were not practising social distancing while others were not putting on masks as prescribed by Mnangagwa.
Recently, the government gazetted Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 to give clarity to the Level 2 national lockdown announced by President Mnangagwa on Friday.
The measures allow for reopening of some formal businesses coupled with extra caution and enhanced testing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The new law prescribes hefty penalties of up to $36 000 or a year in jail for those who fail to comply.
SI 99 says: “Any person who fails to comply with an order of an enforcement officer given under this section, or who hinders or obstructs an enforcement officer from having the access referred to in subsection (6), shall be guilty of an offence and liable to fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”
SI 99 of 2020 prescribes that every individual must wear a mask “whether improvised or manufactured” when leaving home.
The new regulations also give clarity to businesses that are expected to open during Level 2 of the national lockdown.
“ . . . business in the formal commercial and industrial sector means any business, industry, trade or occupation . . . in goods or services for the generation of income or the making of profits, the formalisation of which is evidenced in any one or more of the following ways — (a) the holding of a shop or other licence from a local authority enabling it to operate the business in question from a specified premises; or (b) being the lessee of premises governed by the Commercial Premises (Lease Control) Act [Chapter 14:04]; or (c) being a registered operator for the purposes of the Value Added Tax Act;
. . . or (d) being a registered as an employer for the purpose of paying employees’ tax under the Income Tax Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 5) 554 Act, or otherwise making a regular return of income for the purposes of that Act; (e) being a party to a collective bargaining agreement negotiated through an Employment Council governing the business in question.”
In relation to transport services, the new law states that “every vehicle used by the transport service must be disinfected against Covid-19 by or at the direction of an enforcement officer at least twice daily.”