THE Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) has pleaded with government not to impose a total lockdown and save businesses from collapsing.
By Patricia Mashiri
The call comes comes hot on the heels of a statement by Denford Mutashu, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers who released a statement pleading with government to impose a month long intensive lock-down in the country.
In a statement, Dr Israel Murefu the EMCOZ President said they have always been in support of measures put in place in avoiding the spread of the COVID-19 which promoted the continuity of business.
We also notice that sectors most affected by the pandemic initially were beginning to improve on operations and measures such as localized in hotspot areas will be fully supported. Notwithstanding the foregoing, our considered view is that a blanket national lockdown with strict restrictions on access to work places will reverse the gains in the productivity that we have started witnessing in the economy.
“A total lockdown may compound the problems that we were beginning to see resolved being resolved as business sentiment was gradually becoming positive and bullish. During tight lockdowns, the most likely place that those staying at home might get infected is in retail outlets which will experience overcrowding as people jostle to access daily consumer goods,” Murefu said.
The EMCOZ is also appealing for the extension of business hours during the lockdowns.
“This way we would, as a nation, be able to address the health concerns simultaneously with the requirement not disrupt businesses. We recommend that business in areas no designated as hotspots should continue operating as is the case now. Any restrictions in working hours for manufacturers should take into account shift working arrangement which need not need to be disrupted. Retail outlets, in our view, should operate 8am to 5pm to reduce overcrowding,” Murefu said.
He added that the Employers association was appealing for the availability of more transport at pick and drop off points so as to avoid overcrowding such that the spread of the disease will reduce.
The COVID -19 cases has been on the on the rise. The country recorded 842 positive cases and 12 deaths as of 28 June 2021.