The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) has called on the government to consider the lifting of bans on the operation of bars and liquor outlets saying over 16000 bottle stores have been affected during the lockdown.
Speaking on Great Dyke TV on the weekly series State of the Industry, CZR President Denford Mutashu said as retailers, they are confident that Zimbabweans have largely been peaceful during the lockdown adding that the re-opening of these bottle stores will not cause headaches for the authorities as imbibers will practice social distancing.
“We are cognisant of the fact that Zimbabwe at the present moment is experiencing a sharp rise in covid-19 cases in terms of infections across the geographic divide of the country ofcourse owing to the number of cases that have come from returning citizens that are in quarantine centres.
” We are ofcourse aware to the situation that the opening of bottle stores may sometimes cause certain behavioral changes in terms of the capacity of our law enforcement agencies to be able to control the situation. It may also be a difficult and challenging environment.
“We are quite confident that Zimbabweans have largerly been quite peaceful and even the re-opening of these bottle stores, we believe that it is not going to cause more headaches to the authorities especially the law enforcement agencies of the country.
“The bottle store owners have committed to practice social distancing and also allow sales and people coming through to buy and not to consume at the bottle store but they will consume their beverages at their homes,” he said.
He added the CZR is also looking at ensuring a stable supply of general goods and services including basic commodities.
“We are also looking at stabilising supply of general goods and services across many range of products beginning with basic commodities supply of mealie meal, cooking oil, rice, laundry soap, general poultry products as well as meat and other products.
“We are also seized with ensuring that during that particular time we continue looking towards capacitating the value chain because this matter requires a value chain approach. You can not treat it as an isolated matter,” said Mutashu.
Mutashu’s sentiments come after the ban on the sale of alcohol at bars and liquor outlets by the ZRP so as to maintain social distancing..
The measure is designed to stop people congregating and drinking together during the lockdown that began in March to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said some Zimbabweans were defying social distancing regulations by buying alcohol and drinking in groups.