We find ourselves in yet another 2-week long lockdown extension as was announced some days ago. Interestingly, as was not expected, schools have since been directed to open. On the 30th of August, we saw exam classes opening their doors again. The 6th of September will see non-exam classes being opened again. This has been met with widespread outcries by both teachers and parents or guardians. Teachers have expressed concerns that they are incapacitated to report for work. Parents or guardians have cited financial challenges especially given the extremely short notice. This has also been exacerbated by the approval by the government for schools to hike schools fees. Yesterday saw yet another series of lockdown restrictions being reviewed. The announcement was made following a cabinet meeting. During the post-cabinet briefing the following reviews were announced:
Cinemas And Theatres
Cinemas and theatres can now be opened to the public. The condition is that the sitting capacity should be 50 per cent. The other condition is that both clients and the staff should be vaccinated. Let me also add that it was recently indicated that fast food joints, restaurants, and the like can now allow sit-ins. Again that is on condition that the clients are vaccinated.
All sporting activities can now resume with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. It was highlighted that all the involved staff will be required to be vaccinated.
Quarantining Of Travellers
It was said that there will no longer be any need for travellers from other countries to be quarantined. This had become the case for countries that were considered to be Delta variant hot spots e.g. India. The reason is that roughly 98 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe now are Delta variants.
Gymnasia And Spas
These can now open but only to vaccinated clients. It is also mandatory for all the staff to be vaccinated.
A Note On Athletes
All athletes or children aged between the ages of 14 and 18 are encouraged to get vaccinated. It was cited that the National Sports Associations will work with the Sports and Recreation Commission to work on that.
Under 14 Activities
Any activity that involves participants under the age of 14 will be subject to COVID-19 protocols. This means participants will be checked for symptoms, shall be subject to temperature checks, and shall be expected to follow social distancing protocols. They will also have to play sport with the same group where possible.
All art galleries can now be opened. The same conditions apply – vaccinated clients and vaccinated staff.
There are still concerns about the laying down of regulations premised on vaccination statuses. For starters, a small fraction of the country has been vaccinated which disadvantages the majority. There is also the widespread concern that vaccination should not be forced but rather must be a choice. Thus these reviews definitely arouse lots of contention. After all, some contradictions have been cited already. For instance, vaccination status does not matter for learners going back to school. Vaccinated or not, learners are going to school thus there is a public outcry on why there is a selective application of regulations. Some have even argued that if learners can just go to school, why not churches. Lots of grey areas and contradictions but it is what is obtaining on the ground at the moment.