By Sizalokuhle Ncube
The Restaurant Operators Association of Zimbabwe (ROAZ) have expressed concern over the new COVID-19 restrictions announced by government which saw business hours slashed, and restaurants barred from serving sitting customers.
ROAZ president Bongai Zamchiya said the industry was hard hit by previous national lockdowns, and the new measures will break it.
“The livelihoods of restaurateurs, staff and suppliers are on the brink of collapse and the only options available were urgent re-opening or immediate and substantial financial support.” he said,” in a statement.
Zamchiya said businesses cannot survive on income from takeaways only as it was not enough to cover incurring costs such as rentals, wages, refrigeration, security and many statutory licences paid to the government.
“Contrary to a common misperception, well-run restaurants are not venues for spreading COVID-19 but are hygienic in concept and operation, posing little if any threat to customers, certainly no greater than any other business or home environment.” he said.
“We have been and remain in full support of the national effort to eliminate Covid-19, but as a trade we are now at a crossroads and require a collective rethink.
“We request urgent re-opening of restaurants and we commit to compliance and to support for measures of safety, knowing that our venues are more hygienic than just about any other business operation or service.”