Home LOCAL NEWS ‘Open bars, Nightclubs’: Business pleads with Govt

‘Open bars, Nightclubs’: Business pleads with Govt

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The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), the biggest retail business representative in the country has approached Government to consider allowing places that sell alcohol like bars and nightclubs to reopen, as the retail sector has taken a significant knock from loss of liquor sales.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said due to the closure of these outlets which are over 15 000, retailers have been greatly affected as they have lost out on business.

Bars and nightclubs have become white elephants since they were closed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who lived off these businesses have also been dealt a major blow.

“We constantly liaise with our constituent and its entire value chain to get appraised of critical policy issues affecting business for onward feedback with government.

“It is through such engagements that we have noted with concern the negative impact of extended induced lockdown closure of alcoholic beverages players whose contribution to the fiscus and entire economic value is paramount,” said Mutashu.

“Under the retail sector, we’ve got more than 16 000 alcoholic beverage selling points across the country, bottle stores etc and it’s actually a plea that we were making to the authorities.”

The CZR president said they are keeping their fingers crossed as alcoholic beverage retail and wholesale players have readied themselves to comply with Covid-19 requirements in reopening.

“We have high prospects of success as our government has a listening ear. Beverages manufacturers have come to us and committed that they’d be able to monitor the activities of each and every one of the retail players that actually buy and sell their products and they’ll comply with the Covid-19 restrictions to ensure that people will actually not consume alcohol within the perimeters of those particular bottle stores etc,” Mutashu said.

Secretary for the Bulawayo Clubs, Bars and Bottle Store owners association, Phathisani Nkomo who runs Cosmopolitan, Havana, Cubana and Zarah Lounge said they are hopeful that they will be allowed to reopen as they have gone all out in ensuring they comply with the Covid-19 restrictions.

“Our association has been lobbying Government to ease or remove the lockdown restriction on clubs, bars and bottle stores like they have done with other industries.

“The targeting of the liquor industry has been a bit unfair when you see what is obtaining in the cities,” said Nkomo.

He said bar proprietors have been terribly affected by the lockdown with some faced with loss of earnings due to the closure.

“Most of our members are now in a very difficult position owing to mounting debts and arrears in rentals plus losses due to product that has either expired or is soon to expire.

“It has been a very difficult time for one to have their business shut down indefinitely without notice. Some members had loans to service and these are being recalled and they are ruined,” said Nkomo.

If the call to reopen the bars and nightclubs is heeded, this will be a short in the arm also for artistes who rely on these outlets to make ends meet through staging shows.

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