MORE than 1 400 bar and nightclub owners around Harare have been arrested on allegations of disregarding national lockdown regulations, with police deploying more officers to ensure compliance with health protocols.
Police said they were increased cases of people violating curfew regulations, widespread public drinking at shopping centres, especially in high-density suburbs.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said lockdown measures were still in force, including a curfew between 10pm and 6am.
“The enforcement of these health, safety and security measures is still paramount. Police have noted that some members of the public are no longer wearing face masks, observing social distancing guidelines and sanitising.
“Covid-19 is real and the public should avoid being complacent and should cooperate with law enforcement agencies to curb the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
There was also need to stick to regulations on public gatherings which are restricted to a maximum of 100 people or less at church gatherings, 50 or less people at funerals, low risk sports and sports clubs.
“Let us take note that weddings, birthday and house parties, political and other social gatherings which include musical concerts are still banned.
“Church leaders are warned against hosting or convening all night prayers,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
“Nightclubs, bars, beerhalls and casinos are not allowed to operate under Covid-19 safety measures.
“The police has intensified patrols, surveillance, checks and other measures to ensure arrests are effected and the law takes its course without fear or favour.
“Those found operating shebeens or selling liquor whilst closed inside bars, nightclubs and other premises will be dealt with.”
Commuter omnibuses or private vehicles ferrying passengers illegally on city and inter-city routes would be impounded and action taken against drivers and vehicle owners.
“The police are aware that some vehicle owners and drivers have removed number plates with some putting cardboard boxes or other materials on windows in order to evade arrest.
“This will not be tolerated and the law will be applied.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said since the beginning of the national lockdown, a total of 224 037 people were arrested for flouting regulations, while 21 180 vehicles were impounded for pirating and putting the lives of the public at risk.
“The ZRP urges members of the public to cooperate with law enforcement officers to curb the spread of Covid-19 and to be exemplary citizens in terms of assisting in maintenance of law and order in the country,” he said.
Last Sunday, a sports bar owner in Mbare was arrested for
operating against Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Police have repeatedly warned musicians and nightclub owners against disregarding-19 national lockdown measures following reports of some musicians holding shows in various parts of the country.