Production and sale of booze allowed during Covid-19 lockdown in Zim
The manufacturing and sale of alcohol has been deemed an “essential service” during Zimbabwe’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.
The country’s biggest beer manufacturer, Delta Corporation, partly owned by SA’s SABMiller, received written confirmation from the ministry of industry and trade to continue operations, though with a leaner team.
“Your company has been exempted from the 21-day lockdown and designated as an essential service provider,” read a letter addressed to the company’s CEO, Pearson Gowero.
“To this end your company is required to operate with minimum but adequate staff as you aim to continue provision of essential services,” read the letter signed by Mavis Sibanda, the ministry’s permanent secretary.
Alcohol retailers such as bottle stores will be required to operate between 9am and 3pm.
The company’s corporate affairs executive, Patrica Murambinda, said she was not in a position to comment on the issue but Sekai Nzenza, the minister of industry and trade, confirmed the move to TimesLIVE.
“Yes it’s true. The permanent secretary has notified the company,” she said.
Sibanda told TimesLIVE that the primary consideration was that Delta Corporation manufactured water and soft drinks.
“They also have soft drinks and water but we have no right to stop them from producing other products. If they [Delta Corporation] decide not to manufacture beer it’s their decision and if they decide not to open at all it's up to them, but just like in other essential services we have been sending out letters,” she said.
Delta Corporation is one of Zimbabwe’s blue chip companies. For the last quarter of 2019 the company reported a 2% decline in revenue to $1.5bn but posted a 45% increase in profit of $382.4m.
Nightclubs and pubs will remain closed.
Meanwhile, 16,032 people who arrived in Zimbabwe in the last three days are under surveillance by the ministry of health and childcare. About 13,000 came through the Beitbridge border post from SA, according to information provided by the ministry.