Friday, 18 December 2020

PARTIES REMAIN BANNED : MINISTER

Those planning Christmas and New Year parties have been reminded that all parties and other social gatherings remain banned under Covid-19 safety measures, and those engaging in the activities will be arrested and face the law, Government has said.

Police are being deployed to ensure compliance. Under the regulations, birthday and house parties, political and other social gatherings including musical concerts, are banned countrywide.

There is also need to stick to regulations on public gatherings, which are restricted to a maximum of 100 people or less at church gatherings, 50 or less people at funerals, and low risk sports.

Church leaders were recently warned against hosting or convening all-night prayers. Nightclubs, bars, beer halls and casinos are still closed under Covid-19 regulations.

In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the 2020 Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (zinara), Zimbabwe Republic Police and Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) festive season campaigns in Harare on Wednesday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, said: “Generally, parties are not permissible, but church services and weddings are permissible, but again they have to make sure that people are not more than 100. And in such cases we should observe social distancing and we should wear our masks.

“And again, we want to emphasise that these restrictions are not meant to cause discomfort, but as you can see, the numbers (of Covid-19 cases) have started rising again. So it is in the interests of us as citizens to ensure that we observe these regulations. We have done good so far as Zimbabwe and we are ranked highly in terms of prevention of Covid-19. Let’s maintain that and continuously observe the restrictions.”

In a statement, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Minister Matiza warned the public against boarding non-Zupco registered kombis and buses as such vehicles will be impounded for violating lockdown regulations.

Those boarding public transport should adhere to all Covid-19 guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing, among other measures to curb the pandemic.

“Following the Cabinet directive and approval of inter-city movement, the Road Motor Transportation started issuing Covid-19 Free compliance certificates. These are issued to compliant buses after an inspection by VID and in accordance with the given standard operating procedure. These certificates are signed by the Commissioner of Road Motor Transportation.

“For ease of business, the same process has been decentralised and now being done in Chinhoyi, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo where deputy commissioners will sign and issue a compliance certificate. More such offices will be opened in other provincial capitals soon,” he said.

Dr Matiza appealed to operators contracted under Zupco, plus taxi owners, tour operators and those transporting inter-city passengers to renew their operator’s licences and route authorities as required by law.

“That process will rest assure the nation that competent and well-trained drivers submitted in the schedule of drivers will be the ones in charge of the buses and hence minimising the chances of human error. The renewal process will also force the applicant to take their vehicles for a certificate of roadworthiness and obtain passenger liability.

“Being contracted to operate under the Zupco banner is not a passport for reckless driving. Government has noticed that some drivers of buses contracted to operate under Zupco banner are not sticking to road rules. I call upon the owners and drivers of these buses to take into considerate steps in ensuring safety of the passengers and the travelling public,” said Dr Matiza.

He warned operators against violating the curfew by travelling at night. The curfew runs from 10pm and 6am.  Recently, owners of 1 400 bars and nightclubs around Harare were arrested on allegations of disregarding national lockdown regulations. Herald

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