Liquor, schools, churches still a no-no as Rwanda eases COVID-19 lockdown measures

Rwanda eases COVID-19 lockdown measures
President Paul Kagame on Thursday, April 30, chaired an extraordinary cabinet meeting that assessed Rwanda's progress in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Kigali, Rwanda | URN | Rwanda has announced the partial opening of its economy for some services to resume.

While hotels, public and private business will resume activities on May 4, churches , bars, gyms and recreational centers will remain closed. Schools will also remain closed until September 2020.

In a cabinet memo published on April 30, the eve of the expiry of total lockdown measures, Kigali says private, and public businesses can open but with essential staff while others work from home. Hotels and restaurants will operate up to 7 pm.

Markets will also open but only have 50 percent of the vendors. Private and public transport will resume within the same province but is banned when moving out to other provinces.

Also opened are bus services, but they will have to maintain social distancing and only allow people with masks onboard. Although funerals will continue, they will be restricted to only 30 people.

Motorcycles and bicycles will also not carry passengers but carry goods. Also, sports activities for individuals will be allowed although sports facilities like stadiums will remain closed. Borders are closed except for goods.

Rwanda’s partial opening is partly because countries around the world are accepting the bitter fact that it may take longer than expected to wipe out the virus or that they will have to devise means to work even when cases are being reported.

Rwanda announced 18 new cases on Thursday 30th, April 2020 to bring the national tally to 243. The country says its biggest challenge remains the cross-border truck drivers.

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Countries that have lifted some of their lockdown measures like Ghana and South Africa have seen a slight surge in positive cases, an indicator that as countries open up, they should brace for that scenario.

Coronavirus pandemic has battered economies of countries with millions of people losing jobs and a couple of companies expected to fold.

Uganda is expected to partially lift lockdown measures next week if majority of tests from the community continue to be negative.

Below are Rwanda’s 10 guidelines you need to know that must be followed for 15 days from Monday, May 4th, 2020 when they take effect;
  1. Businesses to resume operations
  • Public and private businesses will resume operations on Monday, May 4. However, only essential staff are to operate from the workplace while others are to continue working from home.
  1. Hotels and Restaurants to close at 7 p.m.
  • Hotels and restaurants will be open to clients. However, bars will remain closed.
  1. A curfew between 8 p.m., and 5 a.m.
  • All movement after 8 p.m. in banned unless you have special permission. The curfew will last up to 5 a.m.
  1. Public and private transport
  • Operators of public transport such as buses can start their engines on Monday, May 4 but have to ensure social distancing for their passengers. This means that they will have less than their usual carrying capacity to be compliant. Moto bikes will not be allowed to carry passengers but can ferry goods. Private transport will also resume but restricted to the same city.
  1. Schools and churches remain closed
  • Students will remain closed till September 2020. Worshipers will also have to wait a little longer before they can congregate in their respective places of worship as they will remain closed. Meetings in public spaces and mass gatherings are also prohibited.
  1. Individual sporting activities allowed, gyms to remain closed
  • Do you jog? Fitness enthusiasts will from Monday, May 4, have the liberty to carry out individual sporting activities in open spaces between 5 a.m., and 8 p.m. However, gyms and other recreation/sporting facilities will remain closed.
  1. Limit to funeral participants
  • Funeral gatherings shall not exceed 30 mourners. Previously, a maximum of 20 people were allowed to attend funerals
  1. Borders closed
  • The country’s borders will remain closed except for cargo to allow imports and exports. Rwandans returning home and legal residents will also be allowed into the country. However, they will be subjected to a 14-day mandatory isolation/quarantine.
  1. Intercity travel banned
  • Travel from one province to another is still prohibited.
  1. Manufacturing and Construction to resume
  • Construction projects and manufacturing has been given the go-ahead to resume works. However, with only essential staff and ensuring the protection of workers
  • In addition to the above guidelines, the Cabinet also instructed the wearing of masks in public and the strict other protective guidelines including social distancing.