RETAILERS have welcomed the extension of the Covid-19 lockdown business operating hours, saying the move buttresses the gradual re-opening of the economy.
On Tuesday, the Government announced the extension of business operating hours from 6.30am to 6.30pm to balance the economy and respond to the Covid-19 threat. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu, said his organisation notes with appreciation cautious efforts by the Government to reboot the economy.
"CZR applauds the Government on the extension of operating hours for businesses in line with the gradual relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions," he said in an interview.
"The move implemented by the Government this week is in support of its plans to re-open the economy in a careful manner taking pandemic into consideration, which is still in our midst."
The Government through the adhoc inter-ministerial taskforce on Covid-19, has indicated that the country was yet to emerge from the woods in the fight against the global health crisis. Since the outbreak of the disease in the country towards the end of March this year, Zimbabwe has so far recorded over 7 530 people infected with the viral respiratory disease while more than 200 have succumbed.
"CZR wishes to thank the Government for taking a timely intervention on the matter following a submission of our application to authorities to that effect.
"All business stakeholders, consumers and the general public, while celebrating this move should, however, remain vigilant in the fight against the invisible enemy, Covid-19," said Mr Mutashu.
Meanwhile, the retailers' representative body also welcomed the re-opening of more than 16 000 alcoholic beverages sector outlets across the country. Mr Mutashu said CZR would continue to work with authorities, alcoholic beverage manufacturers, sector players and law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with the re-opening regulations to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19.
"It is CZR's utmost plea to retailers and wholesalers to remain vigilant in the fight against this invisible enemy. Let's also all continue to price responsibly
and apply the formal foreign currency auction exchange rate on our products to protect consumers," he said.