Businesses are slowly beginning to pick up in Kigali's key commercial zones, as traders race against time to take advantage of the recent lifting of restrictions.
Kismenti in Remera is one of the busiest and rapidly growing business corridors in Kigali, hosting banks, restaurants, supermarkets and bars, but the pandemic had dealt a serious blow to its businesses that many had started closing.
Brian Kitatta runs Lam Lounge a restaurant at Kisement, he is not sure his business would have continued if restrictions were not lifted.
"The recent extension of curfew time to 10pm-4am and allowing customers to sit and eat came at a critical time, it was a reprieve because am not sure we would still be open," said Mr Kitatta.
With time extended people can now sit in and eat, the take-away option was not enough, many would not buy because they are going home to eat.
The place that was known for bars and meat grills, where people drunk alcohol until morning, had grown cold as bars closed for close to two years now.
As some bars closed for good, some bar owners changed their business models from bars to liquor stores to survive.
Many liquor stores opened up at Kisimenti even during the pandemic, and they seem to be thriving as customers who used to bars resorted to drinking from liquor stores.
Other customers avoiding curfew restrictions and traffic penalties for drunk driving, opted to buying alcohol from liquor stores and take it home to drink from there.
Restaurants like Kitatta's Lam lounge survived the pandemic because of their proximity to liquor stores, because after drinking customers could come for food.
Allowing traditional weddings, gyms and gaming activities to resume albeit with minimum restrictions has brought many businesses in those lines of services back to life.
Although trade and other retail businesses are showing signs of recovery, it will take service businesses like hotels, transporters and others a much longer time to recover.
A new research published by the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research shows that businesses recorded a 50 percent drop in sales and profits between February 2020 and February 2020. The report further shows that businesses in industry fell by 51 per cent, agriculture 47 per cent, services by 56 per cent, with those in Kigali falling by 53, Northern province by 54, East by 51, South by 56 and West by 58 per cent.