President Yoweri Museveni announced on Monday night that the country would open up to public life, but not until the government has provided free masks at least by June 2.
While giving his 14th address to the country in two months, Mr. Museveni said that considering that many people were complaining that they cannot afford to buy a mask, and also to prevent people from sharing masks, the government has decided to provide masks for free to all Ugandans of six years and above.
“They will be distributed through the local council system”, the President announced.
The move is to re-emphasize the compulsion of people to wear a mask when in public.
The following are the new measures in easing the lockdown, which are to take effect after the proper masks have been distributed – “up to the village”:
1. Shops selling general merchandize will open provided they are not in the shopping malls, shopping arcades and food markets. Shops in malls/arcades can’t open now because it is impossible to observe social distancing in shopping malls or arcades.
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, tuku-tukus 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 will 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 (Saa moja ya usiku) until 0630 hours (Saa kuminambiri na nusu za usiku), 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 another 21 days.
NOTE: (a) Government is to provide free masks to all Ugandans aged six and above in two weeks’ time. They will be distributed through the LC system.
(b) The national taskforce headed by the Rt Hon Prime Minister will meet and offer detailed SOPs in relation to these directives.