FOLLOWING the relaxation of the lockdown guidelines by Government, there was an increase of human traffic in Bulawayo yesterday. President Mnangagwa on Friday extended the lockdown by a further 14 days but downgraded the emergency response to Covid-19 to level two which allows industry and commerce to resume operations if they comply with set health guidelines to curb the spread of the disease.
The relaxation started yesterday. Level four was the original lockdown under which only essential services were permitted to operate. Level three was reached when mining, manufacturing and tobacco sales were authorised to resume operations.
Those who had been going to work under levels four and three of the lockdown continue to report for duty as usual.
Zupco is the only public transport service provider allowed to operate during the lockdown.
Chronicle observed yesterday long queues at Zupco pick-up points at around 4pm in the CBD after businesses had closed as per the lockdown regulations which stipulate that business ends at 3pm. Security forces worked hard to ensure social distancing.
Buses were overwhelmed and hundreds of people were left stranded mostly at Herbert Chitepo Street. The public transporter had to call in Zupco kombis to relieve buses.
Although the kombis charge $4 compared to $2 on buses, commuters swarmed them as they were eager to go home.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Zupco southern region manager Mr Tinaye Rwasoka said that today everything will go back to normal as more kombis would be availed.
“Yesterday we received an influx of commuters after relaxation of the lockdown, which saw the opening of a number of businesses. We have since called on the Zupco kombi operators to come on board and assist the buses which are overwhelmed as they only carry a maximum of 50 passengers,” said Mr Rwasoka.
He said the commuting public should today expect an improved service and urged them to comply with preventive and safety measures when boarding the buses or kombis. —-chronicle.co.zw