THE gazetted legal statutory instrument amending lockdown regulations by setting the 6PM to 6AM curfew, now requires church gatherings, jogging, walking and cycling to take place not earlier than 8AM or later than 3PM.
The definition of “wearing a face mask” in a public place now means that wearers must “securely” cover their nose and mouth with the mask.
Acting Minister of Health and Child Care Prof Amon Murwira gazetted Statutory Instrument 174/20 under the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 14) on Wednesday.
The new law stipulates that those who fail to comply face hefty penalties of up to $36 000 or a year in jail. The curfew definition of essential services includes all services already defined as essential for other purposes with six deletions.
While the production, supply, delivery and distribution of food, fuel and coal is permitted during the curfew hours, supermarkets and food shops cannot operate during the curfew. Banks, bureaux de change and the like have to obey the curfew, except their security staff can work at night. Courts, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, public examinations and Parliament remain essential services for all other purposes, but have to obey the curfew.
The amendment to the lockdown regulations adds mining and the operations of designated tobacco auction floors to the list of services that are exempted and can operate during the curfew.
Under the curfew all travel by those who are in non-essential services, in or out of vehicles, is prohibited during the curfew hours and they must stay at home.
However, there are five categories of exemption from the movement ban, but the onus is on the person moving outside curfew hours to satisfy the officer enforcing the curfew.
People are allowed to “break” curfew to buy medicine, move to and from work if they are employed in the essential services, seek medical attention, go to the home of a relative who needs medical help, or if they are a member of staff of a foreign mission or agency and are going to that mission.
Besides the essential services and businesses, there are also exempted businesses. These remain the same with no change of definition and so can continue operating, but their hours have been shortened back to 8am to 3pm. This means all industrial and commercial businesses, including those in the informal sector that have been already exempted, can continue.
Supermarkets, food shops, fuel outlets, restaurants, and safari and hunting operations have, however, for the purposes of operating times been added to the list of non-essential businesses that can operate only between 8am and 3pm.
Some of these, especially restaurants and service stations, had been able to operate outside the previous restrictions on hours, but no longer.
The amended regulations now lay down the rules for what happens when a member of staff of a non-essential, but exempted business, which for this purpose now includes the food shops, restaurants, service stations and safari operations, tests positive or is confirmed to have died from Covid-19.
The relevant premises have to be closed and disinfected before reopening and immediately before the reopening every other member of staff who could have been in contact with the affected member of staff must be tested.
Police also urged members of the public to comply with the new measures announced by President Mnangagwa on Tuesday.