As we already noted in an earlier article, the government has introduced another hard lockdown. This lockdown is supposed to last for 30 days and there is a real possibility that it will be extended again if the COVID-19 situation does not improve. The new lockdown generally says only essential businesses or businesses that provide essential services will be allowed to operate while every other business is required to close for 30 days. The question on most people’s minds is: What are these essential businesses?

What are essential businesses?

Fortunately, the government has already provided a definition of what these essential businesses are in a previous piece of legislation. Essential businesses include:

  • Any hospital service so it means clinics, hospitals and hospices will be allowed to operate
  • Mining companies although this probably does not include illegal artisanal miners
  • Tourist related businesses such as hotels
  • Most transport services including long-distance trucks (magonyeti), ZUPCO buses, goods trucks, fast-food delivery vehicles, other delivery vehicles etc. This does not include Kombis which the government has selfishly and arrogantly banned leaving scores of people stranded. However, with this lockdown, there will be less pressure on ZUPCO buses
  • ZESA and its employees are allowed to roam about doing their thing
  • ZINWA and city plumbers are allowed to operate and fix issues
  • It seems like private plumbers who have their papers in order might also be allowed to operate
  • Supermarkets and food retail shops which includes companies like Chicken Inn, Chicken Slice etc
  • Banks, Bureau de Changes (do these even have customers anymore), Money Transfer Services like Mukuru, WorldRemitt, Cassava and Hello Paisa
  • Fire brigade
  • Ambulance Services
  • Internet Service Providers, Mobile Network Operators and ZBC
  • Soldiers, police and other security services
  • Government printing
  • Public service and most civil servants except for example teachers
  • Criminal courts and their respected affiliates like messengers of the court and lawyers
  • Those that manufacture medicines
  • Companies involved in the distribution of COVID-19 supplies
  • Funeral parlours and related service e.g. manufacturers of coffins
  • Air transport businesses
  • Farming activities
  • Supply of stock feeds and agricultural inputs e.g Farm and City Centre and Propak
  • Supply of veterinary services
  • Schools are only allowed to open for the purposes of making sure that those writing their exams can finish doing so.

Except for a few organisations like hospitals which are required to operate 24/7 most of these businesses are supposed to close at 3PM every day. Most informal businesses are banned. This is an important reason for you to formalise your business otherwise you will keep getting affected. Those who are allowed to operate have to make sure that they follow strict COVID-19 guidelines including making sure they wear masks, their customers wear masks and practice social distancing and strict temperature checks at entrances.