Unki Mines has been granted a temporary essential service status to operate at normal capacity despite the ongoing lockdown.
Zimbabwe imposed a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Monday last week to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country has 11 confirmed coronavirus cases so far and two deaths.
President Mnangagwa said in a live broadcast that only state and health workers on duty will be exempted from the lockdown, while funeral gatherings should not involve more than 50 people. The lockdown has also seen security forces being deployed to enforce it.
In response to Unki Mines application for partial exemption from some of the provisions of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 (public health (Covid-19) prevention containment and treatment) (national lockdown) order 2020, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, said Government was still weighing its options to grant the company full essential service status. Unki Mines made the application to be exempted from lockdown so that it continues at full production.
"Reference is made to your application for exemption from national lockdown and to the announcement of the national lockdown on 27 March 2020 by His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa and the subsequent Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 (Public Health (Covid-19) Prevention Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) order 2020.
"Please be advised that your company's application to vary the above order by continuing to operate, is under consideration and you will be advised of the outcome in due course. In the meantime, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development having considered your special circumstances, hereby grants you a 'temporary essential service status', in terms of the above order, and therefore you have authority to continue operating at normal capacity pending the outcome of your application," said Minister Chitando.
"Notwithstanding the temporary exemption granted, your company is obliged to observe the key principles of the above order in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and to immediately furnish this Ministry with a comprehensive Covid-19 prevention and containment response plan."
Meanwhile, some leading supermarkets, pharmacies, fast food outlets and a bank have been opening from 8AM to 1PM from Monday this week in Gweru as more people leave their homes to replenish on especially food supplies.
Government is urging people to work from home and limit social contact under the ongoing 21-day lockdown aimed at mitigating the spread of the deadly Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Supermarkets such as OK, PnP, Choppies, pharmacies, Chicken Inn, Chicken Slice have been opening their doors to the shoppers from 8AM to 1PM every day. Even in high- and low-density suburbs of Mkoba, Senga, Mambo, Ascot, Southdown's, Southview, small shops and butcheries have also been opening from morning till lunch hour.
The same applies to small to medium enterprises involved wielding, carpentry, saloons and fresh produce sales. Resident have said they are worried about supplies running out -- especially amid the images and videos of empty supermarket shelves that have been circulated on social media.