The government of Zimbabwe has done what it does best, introduce another Statutory Instrument on top of the mounting pile of Statutory Instruments they have already introduced this year. Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 was gazetted on Saturday and seeks to explain the exact nature of Level 2.

Under level two the president said formal businesses could reopen. The confusing part, was what the heck is a formal business. Now we have the answer:

  • A shop or other licence from a local authority.
  • A lease agreement on commercial property in terms of the Commercial Premises (Lease Control) Act.
  • Being registered for Value Added Tax purposes.
  • Being registered as an employer for Income Tax purposes.
  • Being a party to a collective bargaining agreement with an industry Employment Council.

Any businesses that can prove any one or more of the above can consider itself formal and it will be allowed to reopen. Banks have already send out messages saying that they would be open today.

To make it interesting and more confusing the previous Statutory Instruments such as 83 still apply. Those poor schmucks who don’t qualify as essential workers are still stuck to their 5km radius limits blah blah. Make no mistake Covid-19 is still very much there and the government needs to restrict movement in order to contain it.

To make things even more interesting even if you are an essential worker you will not be allowed into the CBD. Zimbabwe’s controversial Deputy Minister of Information, Energy Mutodi had a colourful way of putting it.

With effect tomorrow Monday 4 May, police will arrest anyone seen without putting on a mask in the CBD, entering shops or any public places.

Mutodi on Twitter

There are other conditions as we pointed out in our previous article:

  • Employers have to test all employees who are coming back to work.
  • To reduce costs and results turn-around, the rapid test will be used. This has given false-positive results in the past
  • Testing will be done on premises so employers have to provide testing facilities/space
  • Employees will be required to wear masks
  • Only ZUPCO buses to be allowed to transport people to and from work (so transport operators are part of the formal businesses that will resume operations)
  • Social distancing in buses
  • Buses to be disinfected at least twice a week
  • Temperature checks before boarding buses, as well as disinfecting of hands