AfricaCorona VirusZimbabwe

Mushrooming of shebeens poses threat to Zimbabwe’s health system

By Almot Maqolo

Government approved the reopening of more than 16 000 alcoholic beverages sector outlets across the country, a move expected to see the demise of shebeens which had rapidly increased over the lockdown period. Bar and bottle store operators in the country have been left counting losses after some of their stocked beer brands expired during the current lockdown period imposed by the government to try and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Some operators reportedly resorted to clandestinely selling the expired beers to shebeen operators in the high-density suburbs. However, licensed bottle stores and other liquor outlets have been given the green light to sell liquor to customers for consumption on the premises and during licensed hours but on strict conditions.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers President Denford Mutashu said it will continue to work with authorities, alcoholic beverage manufacturers, sector players and law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with the reopening regulations to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19.

Mutashu expressed concern on, “All shebeens that had mushroomed during the lockdown due to closure of bottle stores and bars, should be shut down immediately as they are now posing a serious health threat to communities.” The southern African nation revised operating times for businesses previously set from 08:00 to 16:30 to 06:30 to 18:30.

The easing of lockdown restrictions, the government said, is not an indication that the country has defeated this pandemic, but a nation seeking to balance between economic interests and the protection of life.

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