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Tourism staff vaccinated but sector bears lockdown brunt

Tourism staff vaccinated but sector bears lockdown brunt

from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) CAPTAINS of the hospitality industry have decried the latest measures by the Zimbabwean government to curb the surge of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The industry will not be spared the restrictions to fight the pandemic, despite a majority of workers in the industry vaccinated.

Bongani Zamchiya, the Restaurant Operators’ Association of Zimbabwe (ROAZ) president, said while the organisation supports new measures, the new regulations threaten the livelihoods of restaurateurs, staff and suppliers.

He said restaurants are hygienic and cannot be conduits for spreading COVID-19.

Zamchiya also disclosed that about 75 percent of ROAZ members and staff had been vaccinated.

For instance, Victoria Falls reached herd immunity following roll out of mass vaccination in the country’s tourism capital, which saw a majority of residents inoculated.

Ed Shangwa, the ZimSun Managing director, recently said all workers at the leading hotelier had been vaccinated.

Anald Musonza, the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chairperson, said the latest restrictions caused by a new surge in cases were a drawback to businesses that were beginning to pick up.

New restrictions came to effect on Monday.

Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, the Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Minister, led an advance team to Victoria Falls.

“As we march forward determined to revive the tourism industry, I feel duty bound to remind all players of the need for strict adherence to health and safety protocols which our government has developed in line with the guiding principles stipulated by World Health Organisation and United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

“The alternative we face is just too ghastly to contemplate so let us continue to tread carefully waiting for the sun to rise again so we can all go out to play. The new dates for opening of our facilities will be announced in due course when the time is right,” said Ndlovu.

Some new hotels were expected to open in the city but this has been delayed because of the lockdown.

Vice President Costantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health Minister, last weekend, announced new measures.

He bemoaned complacency by citizens in adhering to preventive measures both in the communities and work places.

Workplaces have been restricted to 50 percent staff only.

All gatherings such as weddings, church gatherings, music festivals and sports activities, except funerals are banned.

Meetings and workshops are to be held virtually, a blow to hoteliers who were now hosting conferences.

Retail businesses and shops are compelled to operate between 8am and 6pm under the new measures.

Hotels, lodges, bars and restaurants are open only up to 10pm while all other restaurants and fast food outlets serve takeaways only.

One of the country’s resort towns, Kariba has been placed under localised lockdown following a spike in new cases while a number of other towns have been identified as hotpots.

As of Friday (today), Zimbabwe had confirmed 40 927 cases and 1 647 deaths.

– CAJ News

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