Businesses on recovery path as curfew finally comes to an end
Thursday March 17 2022
The lifting of the Covid-19 curfew after almost two years since dreaded virus struck, has raised prospects of recovery among businesses. Many say, the lifting of the curfew was the much needed shot in the arm.
“Lifting the curfew was a huge relief, not only that but the removal of other measures like having customers test for covid-19 before they sit was hurting the business”
“It is too early to say that Covid-19 is behind us and everything has gone back to normal, but we can’t ignore the relief and excitement that lifting the curfew has left with us,” said Malik Hamid, the country manager of Java House Africa and 360 degrees Pizza in Rwanda.
She said the lifting of the curfew and other protocols means serving customers for longer hours, going back to full sitting capacity and resuscitation of their cash flow position, which had been punctured by the pandemic.
“There was a time when business was in negatives, no walk-in customers, making very few sales through online takeaways, many of our customers had embraced cooking at home, yet we had to incur expenses like rent and others because we had to remain open to retain the space,”
Like many other businesses, Java House had laid off some of its workers but have since recalled them after the curfew was lifted and business went back to normal, however, the tough experiences have made the revise workers contracts.
They now give new workers short term three month contracts, while some are hired on casual work arrangement until things go back to normal, as opposed to the open ended contracts everyone used to get before the pandemic.
She shares that since the curfew was lifted, she has observed a change in consumption patterns of customers, that the restaurant used to only be busy starting 6 in the evening, but now even at 11 in the morning they are busy.
Jean Paul Munyampenda had just resigned from his job as a Move by Volkswagen driver to drive a car he got on loan, when the pandemic hit, he reached a point of regretting the decision because business came to a complete halt in the first five months of the pandemic.
“Just one month after getting my own car, the pandemic hit, I suffered to the point of wanting to sell the car, but no one was giving me the money I bought it, so I persisted, now with the curfew lifted, I am back to work all day and night” he said.
The decision came as Covid-19 cases significantly dropped and after Rwanda reached its Covid-19 vaccination target of fully vaccinating 60 percent of the population or 7.8 million out of 12.9 million population on March 4.
However, citizens and residents are obliged to get fully vaccinated with two Covid-19 doses and a booster shot for those eligible -- to access public services and places.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc in the country, the government swung into action to implement a raft of measures intended to control its spread, among which included a spectrum of alternating curfews, intended to get people home early in order to limit the spread of the virus.
Weddings, funerals, conferences, and meetings can be held at full venue capacity, while the 72-hour Covid-19 test requirement for attendants in public events has been reduced to 48 hours, putting many event based businesses on a recovery path. Although these measures yielded results in terms of controlling the spread, protocols like the curfew hurt a wide range of businesses especially those that are service-oriented