President Edgar Lungu has assured Owners of Bars and Nightclubs, whose businesses were closed in the wake of COVID 19, that they will resume operations as soon as consultations on how they are to operate in the new normal, are concluded.
Addressing the nation on COVID-19 this afternoon, President Lungu said that he has not forgotten about the bars and nightclubs as they are critical to the social, economic fabric of society as well as to the livelihoods of the people in that business.
“Let me hasten to assure you owners of bars and night clubs which I closed in my first COVID 19 address that I have not forgotten you. Your businesses are critical to your livelihoods and to the social, economic fabric.”
“I would like to inform you that your outlets will be opened once consultations finish about how you are to operate in this COVID 19 period.”
“I, therefore, direct the Ministries of Local government, Health, and commerce to quickly conclude consultations so that we can get our friends back into business, ” he said.
President Lungu said that he will continue to ensure a balance between managing the COVID-19, and avoiding economic collapse. President Lungu also stated that evidence has proved that the COVID-19 could become endemic, just like other ailments like Malaria, hence the need for the people to begin to learn to live with the pandemic.
The President has explained that in the past days, he has taken time to observe for himself, the impact of COVID-19 on various sectors of the economy, but as well, on the well-being of the people.
And from his findings, he has said it has been prudent to allow some socio-economic activities, such as those in the tourism and education sectors, but all amid tight adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
President Lungu also directed General Education Minister, David Mabumba, and his counterparts in Health and Local Government to ensure the schools are safe as they partially reopen on June 1.
On the reopening of colleges and universities, the President said consultation among all stakeholders is still on-going, just like the case is on the bars which remain closed.
The President has further stated that the past months of COVID-19 have presented several lessons for government, however, it is not prudent to suspend everything, but allow a cautious continuation of socio-economic activities.
President Lungu has since reiterated his appeal on some businesses to consider normal operations but within strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
The President also announced that, in the last 24 hours, Zambia had recorded 54 COVID-19 new cases, bringing the national total to 920. The President further requested the Ministry of Health to hold their briefings on Mondays and Fridays to allow ample time for data analysis.