By Garikai Mafirakureva

GOVERNMENT yesterday further relaxed lockdown restrictions, allowing retail, wholesale and service businesses to operate from 6:30am to 6:30pm as it seeks to effect a delicate balancing act between containing the spread of COVID-19 and reviving the economy.

In a statement yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who is also spokesperson for the inter-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19, said government would continue to cautiously relax coronavirus lockdown regulations.

She said the taskforce, at its meeting earlier in the day, welcomed the Cabinet directive to further relax restrictions in the tourism and hospitality industry, adding that the Attorney-General’s Office was now in the process of gazetting a statutory instrument to allow for the reopening of the aviation sector.

“As we gradually open the economy, we need to remember that we are doing this while taking all necessary precautions to fight the invisible enemy, COVID-19. The easing of lockdown restrictions is not an indication that we have defeated this pandemic, but we are a nation seeking to balance between our economic interests and the protection of life,” Mutsvangwa said.

She added that preparations for reopening of Victoria Falls International Airport, training of staff as well as assessment of ports of entry were at an advanced stage.

“Work is advanced in the preparations for the reopening of the Victoria Falls International Airport. This includes the assessment and staff training. The readiness of other ports of entry is under assessment and the nation will be advised,” Mutsvangwa said.

“The taskforce noted that the sale for consumption of liquor by licensees is in three categories. The categories include licensees that may sell liquor to customers for consumption off the premises during licensed hours. These include wholesalers, wine producers and bottlestores.

“Liquor may now also be sold to customers for consumption on the premises during licensed hours which include restaurants, airports, recreational park areas, houseboats, camps, caravan parks, casinos and theatres.”

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