The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government announced that all non-essential businesses in the kingdom should close down from Friday (3 April 2020) as measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic are stepped up.
The kingdom has been on a 20-day partial lockdown since 27 March.
Manqoba Khumalo, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade, announced, 'All businesses and entities that are not involved in the manufacturing, supply or provision of essential goods or services shall, cease to operate for the duration of the partial lockdown.'
Regulations published after the lockdown was announced only covered the closure of bars, and restaurants but said nothing about other shops.
Only 'essential services' will be allowed to operate.
Khumalo issued a long list of those businesses that would be allowed to continue. They are:
1. Food and Agriculture; which includes:
Those involved in the food value chain
2. Retail and consumer goods suppliers, which include:
Consumer Goods suppliers
Food Retailers e.g. food outlets, raw material suppliers and farmers
Those involved in the transportation, logistics and packaging of consumer goods
Other Retail Goods that support the medical industry e.g. bedding, linen and emergency clothing for hospitals, health workers and those caring for the sick
3. Network Infrastructure; which include:
Water, waste water and sanitation
Renewable Energy suppliers
Defence, Safety and Security
Fire and Emergency services
Mining and power stations
4. Medical and Health; which include:
Devices and Equipment
Doctors, nurses, paramedics etc.
5. Forestry and Sawmills
For the production of disposable, health and hygiene products including toilet paper as well as for packaging for food and the health supply chain.
6. IT Systems and Telecommunications
7. Finance and Insurance
8. Tourism and Hospitality
9. Communications e.g. Media
10. Hardware Shops
11. Public Transport and cross-border trade transport
These will operate under the guidelines that Government has issued.
For cross-border transport, this will be restricted to essential services as defined in Eswatini, South Africa and Mozambique
There had been a lot of confusion in Swaziland about which businesses had been allowed to stay open during what is being described by the Swazi Government as a 'partial lockdown'.
Businesses in Manzini, the main commercial city in Swaziland, claimed police and soldiers were demanding bribes to allow them to stay open.
Manzini was reportedly in chaos on Monday after new regulations restricting public transport to early mornings and late afternoons came into force. The eSwatini Observer reported 5,000 people were left stranded.