Police in Bulawayo say there is no room for complacency in the battle against Covid-19 and will come down hard on partygoers and bars that violate lockdown orders especially during this festive week.
Tomorrow, December 25 is Christmas Day and most people usually mark the day by hosting various events including parties, family gatherings and weddings.
The country is still under Level 2 of the National lockdown order where only essential services, businesses in the formal commercial and industrial sectors are allowed to operate.
The curfew is still in place but some people continue to violate it while some bars and nights clubs are operating despite being not allowed to open under Level 2.
In an interview with CITE, Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, said patrols had been set up to try and stop the Covid-19 breaches.
“The law has to be followed and we remind residents to follow it because we will never watch the law being defied by people in the name of celebrations of any kind. We are in a Covid-19 situation that people have to abide to,” he said.
Inspector Ncube said although curfew was 10 pm it did not mean people should defy the law.
“As for the bars that are operating they know what they are doing is illegal. There is no official closing time for something illegal, as the bottlestores are not supposed to be opened for people to drink and we don’t expect them to be still open, they know that. But we have been receiving reports that some bars operate until 3am, they are committing an offence,” he warned.
He also urged people to be responsible and report those who break the law.
“We urge people to report to police, especially those who play their radio until the wee hours of the morning. We also advise that when making a report, one must ask the name of the police officer you reported to so that when making a case follow up, it is easy to know who handled it. We don’t want a situation where people say ‘we reported but the police didn’t do anything,’” Inspector Ncube said.
Inspector Ncube also said the only ‘fun’ gatherings that were allowed are weddings.
“People must listen to the news, the Home Affairs ministry categorically said no parties are allowed, so those holding parties watch out. The only gathering that is permitted is a wedding with 100 people in attendance,” he said.
Health officials, such as Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, have made repeated calls for people to be disciplined, telling them these restrictions are necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 and are not overstepping the mark particularly during the festive period where there is a lot of movement.