Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Following the country’s relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions last week where restaurants were given the green light to serve food within their premises on the basis that they adhere to strict Covid-19 preventative measures, some were excited as they thought that perhaps this week, bars would be allowed to do the same.
As such, there has been excitement among revellers in Bulawayo who are looking forward to bars, which have been closed for the past four months, reopening today.
Sadly for them, most of the outlets have confirmed that there is no plan to reopen as they are waiting for the directive to do so from government.
“We haven’t heard anything from government and I haven’t prepared to open. There was a meeting about it (reopening) and it was about takeaways not sit-ins. I don’t think our place can open for sit-ins with this pandemic,” said DJ Jayza who manages The Vibe.
At Pub Lagondola, the manager Bekithemba Masuku, said they will not be reopening as they are afraid to break the law.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re waiting to be told officially to open. We haven’t had sit-ins for serving food and we are working on compliance for that. We also heard the rumour (of the possibility of bars reopening this week) but there’s nothing like that happening,” said Masuku.
Popular steakhouse, The Smokehouse, which opened its doors to the public on Monday said they were only doing sit ins where they allow a certain number of customers to eat their food, while listening to music in the background. No alcohol is being served.
“We’d love to open full force, but however, we’re guided by the regulations. (For now) we’re open for our food menu as well as non-alcoholic beverages and we’re taking all measures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers,” said The Smokehouse proprietor Ilan Wiesenbacher.
Kate Sithole who runs Vivo Safari Bar and New Alabama on Sunday, said she is adopting a wait and see attitude.
The closure of bars and nightspots has given rise to shebeens in the low and high-density suburbs while house parties have sprouted in the same areas. Police have tried to raid and arrest those found in these illegal drinking spots but, they seem to be too many of them.