Private cars, shops can resume next week, Museveni clarifies lockdown directives

Museveni clarifies lockdown directives
President Yoweri Museveni insisted that measures to ease lockdown as addressed on Monday 18th, May 2020 will be activated only when each individual has received a standard mask distributed by the Government of Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has clarified on his earlier guidelines regarding how to lift Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

On Monday 18th, May 2020, the president left the country confused as many people did not understand his directives.

For example, he allowed shops that sell nonfood items and private cars to resume operations but did not say whether they should also wait for the distribution of government face masks like public vehicles.

He also said that everybody from the age of six years should put on a face mask but did not say whether all these masks should be government provided or people are free to buy their own masks.

However speaking on Tuesday 19th evening at the State House Nakasero, President Museveni said all those entities allowed to resume operations should do so after one week for hotels, restaurant, shops and private cars, and two weeks for public vehicles.

“For the other measures…let them start on May 26 so that we use this one week to prepare. The big measure of safety is putting on the mask, let us use this one week to explain this,” said Museveni.  He added that those who can get masks for themselves are free to do so provided they are of the right quality certified by the Ministry of Health. “The mask should be put on all the time when you are in public,” said Museveni.

For public transport, Museveni said it should open only in 95 districts excluding those at the borders, on June 4. Kampala’s Old Taxi Park is currently being rebuilt.

“In border districts we shall not allow private or public transport because you are on the frontline. You can help or destroy us. You cannot protect us when there is this confusion of vehicles. They will not be allowed until we see how things work here in the center,” added Museveni.

He added that this time should be used by the Prime Minister, who is the head of the National Taskforce to discuss with transporters on how the sector is going to run before it’s opened up.

For education institutions whose finalists, P7, S4 and S6 students and those in their final years in Universities and tertiary institutions will be allowed to resume school, Museveni said, the ministry of education is to use these two weeks to agree on a plan that will be followed.

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“When it comes to children in border districts, if they are local, they will walk to the school but if there are those who may be going to other areas, the ministry will work out a plan to move from the border districts,” said Museveni.

Today’s address which took slightly an hour has been Museveni’s shortest of his 15 speeches to the country during this time.

New Measures to Ease Lockdown in Uganda

  1. Shops selling general merchandise will open provided they are not in the shopping malls, shopping arcades and food markets.
  2. The heroic market women that have slept in the work places for all these days, will be allowed to go home and come back to work daily if they want to.
  3. Public transport will resume but with strict regulations. Mini-buses, buses, taxis, tuk-tuks can operate provided they carry only a half of their normal capacity. Public transport won’t operate in border districts for another 21 days.
  4. Boda bodas won’t carry passengers yet. They should continue to carry cargo as they have been doing during the time of the lock-down.
  5. Bars, night-clubs, gyms, saunas, swimming pools and hair-salons, will stay closed for another 21 days since they cannot easily observe the rules of social distancing.
  6. The International borders of Uganda and the airport will remain closed so that we do not import additional cases from outside.
  7. Education institutions can open but only for finalists/candidate classes. There will be no first-term examinations. Social distancing is a must. Other learners will wait for now.
  8. Curfew from 1900hours until 0630 hours , remains in place for another 21 days.
  9. Food restaurants can open as long as the clients observe social-distancing and there is no air-conditioning which spreads the virus.
  10. People with private cars will be allowed to drive as long as the car does not carry more than 3 people, including the driver.
  11. All the other restrictions will remain in place for 21 days.