By Pamenus Tuso
Some bars in Bulawayo have started barring people that are not vaccinated against Covid-19 from entering their premises.
The government recently allowed restaurants to start serving sit-in clients that are fully vaccinated after nearly three months of tight lockdown restrictions.
Several outlets in Bulawayo that also serve alcohol have re-opened and they are only allowing vaccinated patrons.
One of the places where unvaccinated patrons are no longer allowed is Palace Hotel in the city centre.
“I am a regular patron of Palace Hotel, but I was shocked last week when bouncers manning the door demanded a Covid-19 vaccination card from me,” said a patron who only identified himself as Tau.
“Since I am not vaccinated, I tried to argue with the bouncers that it is unlawful to deny me entry just because I am not vaccinated but they did not budge.”
Tau said following the move by the hotel, he had found a new drinking place where vaccination cards are not required.
Another bar and restaurant located in Parklands in the city, is also now screening patrons at the entrance and allowing only those with vaccination cards to enter.
“Management last week wrote a memo informing all patrons to be vaccinated,” said a bar attendant.
“The deadline for the vaccination was the 28th of August 2021.
“So since then we are no longer accepting anyone who is not vaccinated to patronise our bar.
“The message has been communicated to all our members.”
Bulawayo-based human rights lawyer, Nqobani Sithole, said while the bar owners had a right to deny patrons admission in line with the Covid-19 regulations, the practice becomes unlawful if a person can prove that they are not infected.
“The (bar owners) have a right of refusing admission in line with Covid-19 regulations,” Sithole said.
“But if you can prove that you are negative, the decision would be irrational and, therefore, unlawful.
“One can do a test case against it if you can show that you are Covid-19 negative and that their decision is irrational.”
Several government departments and quasi- government entities are now forcing their workers to vaccinate against Covid-19.
Some of the parastatals that have forced their workers to take the Covid-19 vaccine include the Grain Marketing Board and TelOne.