On Friday, June 18, the government introduced new anti-coronavirus measures to help curb a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the country. We understand that these are challenging times for Ugandan entrepreneurs as they strive to protect their families and businesses. We are here to help with a summary of the changes and what they mean for your business.

What are the new revised measures? 

  • The country will observe a new curfew time from 05:30hrs to19:00hrs
  • Shopping centers, churches and sports arenas are now closed.
  • All public and private transport will be suspended. However, emergency vehicles, police and army vehicles, and essential workers vehicles will be allowed to move. Boda-bodas will be allowed to move from 05:30hrs until 17:00hrs.
  • Workers within the essential sectors can continue working and should have a movement permit, work identification or authorization letters to ease their movement.

Note: The essential sectors are agriculture, industry, manufacturing and tourism, health and medical services, security (police and army), utilities, mass media, telecoms, banking institutions, waste management, retail shops and market, cargo transport and goods distribution.

What measures are still in place?

  • All schools and educational institutions remain closed.
  • Entebbe International Airport remains open. However, air travellers have strict rules and protocols to ensure the virus and new variants do not enter Uganda.
  • With the exception of returning Ugandans, international travellers coming from category A countries may not enter the country. Currently, only India is listed as a category A country.

How does this impact different industries?

  • Agricultural activities are permitted to continue uninterrupted because they do not encourage crowding.
  • When possible, factories and construction sites must house workers at workplaces for the next 42 days. Factory owners should work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that only uninfected workers are allowed on site.
  • Where workers’ housing is not possible, the factory owners should work with the health technical committee to agree on a safe alternative to enable factory activities to continue.
  • All cargo movements in and out of Uganda will be allowed without any disruption. Trucks are permitted to carry only two people.
  • Registered tourist vehicles will be allowed on roads if they move directly to their designated destinations.
  • Institutions, organizations, and workplaces should have person/s dedicated to compliance with SOPs (listed below), restrict the physical presence of staff to a bare minimum, and encourage people to work from home whenever possible.
  • All workplaces should observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry of Health – See the box below for more details.

Summary of the SOPs

SOP Detail
Cleanliness of premises ·       Carry out disinfection and sanitization process regularly during operations and  after operations
Health screenings ·       Ensure that all staff, suppliers and customers undergo a body temperature screening process
Hand washing /use of hand sanitizers ·       Provide hand washing points or hand sanitizers at the entrance to the premises and ensure  that hands are washed  before entering the premises
Use of face masks ·       Ensure that workers use a face mask at all time when on the premises
Social distancing ·       Ensure social distancing of one meter at all times

 

Given these new measures, what can I do to protect my business?

These new restrictions are likely to have significant impact on the operations of most businesses in Uganda in the near future; however, business owners can follow the tips to ensure business continuity and workplace safety:

  • Prepare a business continuity plan that fully addresses pandemic risks to enable the business to stay up and running during the time of restriction and beyond.
  • Maintain the company’s liquidity by reducing expenses because the disruptions may affect business sales and revenue.
  • Protect your customers by providing a safe environment and assuring them that they are protected.
  • If possible, allow staff to work remotely to reduce exposure to the disease. It will ensure the team feels safe and remains productive.
  • Increase the use of online and digital tools to reach out to suppliers and the market.
  • Be safe and make sure you continue to follow the appropriate SOPs for your business.

Reference:

  1. Speech on the resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda.Issued 06.06.2021
  2. Speech on the revised COVID-19 restrictions in Uganda. Issued 18.06.2021