Many people in Zimbabwe are not aware that life after the 21 Day- Lockdown will be very different and must start preparing for change of life- style right now. Those who are short sighted think everything will be normal after lockdown but the opposite is true.
As we speak our future is not certain for the next 12 months and many people in urban areas or towns will lose their jobs and soon struggle to pay rentals, school fees and buy food.
Firstly, the end of lockdown is not the end of Covid -19 and if anything, it is the beginning of our armed struggle against the virus of which for now there is no end in sight. Every affected business will in turn affect those who also depend on it including it’s workers and their dependents and other businesses too.
The following will be affected:
Cross Border Business
Most of our cross borders were traveling to South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Dubai, China etc and chances of these countries re-opening their borders to the travelling public any time soon are very slim. This business will close down at least for now until Corona virus is tamed. Many countries will remain on lockdown for longer periods than currently anticipated. UK has already been on a lockdown for a long period. China has also announced that it will guard it’s borders jealously to avoid reinfection from foreigners as they consolidate their victory over Covid-19.
Here closer to home, South Africa and Botswana are likely to do the same to avoid importing new cases. Besides the hospitality of these countries to cross borders especially from Zimbabwe has all along been found wanting. This time they have a valid and genuine reason of banning cross borders for a longer period. In Zimbabwe, the Gulf, Mupedzanhamo and many other Flee markets and boutiques country wide will be hard hit and all those surviving on that business will be rendered incapacitated. While Francistown and Musina risk becoming ghost towns without Zimbabwean cross borders, these two countries are economically stable and can manage.
Hotels and lodges will open but there will be no meaningful business. No international tourists are expected in the foreseeable future meaning the sector will be in a dire situation. Automatically many workers and residents in Victoria Falls and other resort towns face an uncertain future and face the possibility of losing jobs as their towns can easily become ghost towns for a while.
While other companies will open for business after the 21 Day- Lockdown, not everyone will be recalled. Critical manpower will be called first while others will be recalled at a later stage. Companies may need more time to recover and some employees risk not being recalled at all.
Gatherings, of any kind and purpose, have been banned world wide and no country will allow gatherings any time soon as these have been singled out as responsible for promoting the spread of Covid-19. These include soccer, churches, protests & demonstrations, celebrations, weddings & parties elections and educational gatherings. The real challenge will be in education especially in Africa. Schools are closed worldwide and while developed nations can resort to E- learning to avoid students gatherings, at least for a semester or two or even a year, Africa and Zimbabwe included has no such capacity.
Street vending will affect thousands and thousands of people mainly in big towns like Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Chitungwiza. Many people who survive on street vending must quickly relocate to Farms and rural areas as they will not be able to pay rentals and buy food. Authorities this time around will be determined to fight street vending as it has been seen as a health hazard even before the advent of Corona virus.
Already the sector has been affected badly. Worldwide, passenger aeroplanes and trains are packed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. In Zimbabwe, thousands of commuter mini-buses and taxis are parked and will remain so until they are allowed to operate again. Already the authorities have been fighting mushikashika and unregistered Kombis and the same authorities may take this opportunity to deal with them permanently.
Our people must be warned to start serious preparations and life adjustments in the face of Corona virus.
Our lives will never remain the same after 21 Day Lockdown and even after Covid -19.