THE Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) has said a blanket national lockdown with tight restrictions on business operations, will reverse the gains made in production witnessed in the recovery of the economy.
This was said by the EMCOZ president, Israel Murefu who added a total lockdown would negatively impact business which was still recovering from lengthy Covid- 19 induced lockdowns experienced last year and early 2021.
“Total lockdown may compound the problems that we are beginning to see being resolved as business sentiment was gradually becoming positive and bullish,” he said statement.
EMCOZ recommended that businesses operating in areas not designated as hotspots must continue operating without disruptions.
“We recommend the business in areas not designated as hotspots should continue operating. Any restrictions in working hours, manufacturers should take into account shift working arrangements which need not to be unnecessarily disrupted.
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, our considered view is that a blanket national lockdown with tight restrictions on access to workplaces will reverse the gains in productivity that we have started witnessing in the economy,” he said.
Murefu noted with concern the increase in the number of new Covid-19 infections and the presence of the new wave in the country.
“We note with concern the increase in the number of infections and the presence of the new wave in the country. We also notice that sectors affected by the pandemic initially were beginning to improve on their operations and as such localised lockdowns in hotspots areas will be fully supported, “he said.
“Contrary to sentiments expressed elsewhere, reduced working hours in the retail sector make the retailing outlets more crowdable since the same number of shoppers need to do their shopping during the reduced hours.
“This increases the risk and, therefore, would recommend extended trading hours, but with strict observance of all recommended Covid-19 protocols,” said Murefu.
He suggested that retail outlets operate from 8 am to 5 pm to reduce overcrowding while curfew hours reviewed from 7 pm to 5 am.
“Retail outlets, in our view, should operate 8 am to 5 pm to reduce over-crowding. A review of curfew hours run from 7 pm to 5 am to allow movement of those in essential service to travel from home to work and back ahead of curfew hours would minimise disruption and production time.”
Murefu also appealed to the government to allow private transporters, with the capacity to comply with Covid-19 regulations, to operate to reduce pressure on ZUPCO buses.
“We appeal for more transport to be made available to reduce overcrowding in public transport facilities and private transporters who demonstrate capacity to comply with all Covid-19 protocols should be allowed to operate so as to reduce pressure on ZUPCO.”