Rwanda Eases COVID-19 Restrictions Further as More Get Vaccinated

President Kagame chairing the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Photos/Urugwiro Village.

A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday September 1 revised existing COVID-19 preventive measures, ushering in further reopening of key sections of the economy.

In the revised measures, which will take effect today September 2, curfew time was revised with movements in the City of Kigali prohibited between 10pm to 4am while in other parts of the country, except few districts, curfew starts 9pm to 4am.

In Kigali, all businesses must close by 9pm while in other parts of the country business will be closing 8pm, a move that is expected to bring relief to businesses and bring hope that the Covid-19 pandemic is relenting.

“However, the districts of Burera, Gicumbi, Kirehe, Ngoma, Nyagatare, Nyamasheke, Nyaruguru and Rwamagana, with high COVID – 19 incidence, curfew will apply between 8 PM – 4 AM (with businesses closing by 7 PM),”

“Public offices will continue with essential staff at no more than 50% capacity while other employees continue working from home on rotational basis. Private businesses will continue with essential staff at no more than 50% capacity while other employees continue working from home on rotational basis,” the cabinet statement reads.

Physical conferences and meetings will continue at 30% occupancy but all participants must present a PCR negative COVID – 19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to the meeting.

Under the new measures, public transport, particularly buses, are expected not to exceed 75% of seating capacity, with bus operators urged to ensure windows are open for proper ventilation and passengers maintain social distancing.

‘Moto’ taxis and bicycles are permitted to carry passengers but they must comply with COVID-19 preventive measures while restaurants shall continue to operate with a 30% occupancy limit.

However, restaurants with outdoor seating service may operate at 50% of venue capacity but bar owners might have to wait a little longer as all bars will remain closed.

Cabinet resolved that places of worship will continue to open with no more than 30% maximum occupancy.

As expected, arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International airport must present a negative COVID – 19 PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure and should comply with health guidelines while tourism activities will continue in strict adherence with COVID – 19 health guidelines.

For sports lovers, individual and non-contact outdoor sports activities are permitted but the Ministry of Sports will provide detailed guidelines. Gyms and fitness centres will continue to re-open progressively, with guidance from MINISPORT.

Attendance at a wakes/vigil, locally known as ‘Ikiriyo’, is still restricted to 10 persons at any one time while funeral gatherings at graveside services should not exceed 30 persons.

Civil, religious and traditional marriage ceremonies are permitted but events in homes should not exceed 50 persons.  Events held in designated or approved venues, including outdoor tents, should not exceed 30% of venue capacity.

All guests must possess negative COVID – 19 test results taken within 72 hours before an event, and should comply with COVID – 19 preventive measures, including social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks.

Concerts, Gatherings and Gaming Activities to return

The creative industry will be relieved to know that events and gatherings including concerts, festivals, exhibitions and more shall resume gradually for vaccinated and tested participants, nearly two years after they were closed.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is expected to provide detailed guidelines. Gaming activities are also expected to resume gradually. The Ministry of Trade and Industry will provide detailed guidelines.

With more people getting vaccinated and more doses becoming available, Rwanda is looking to have all vital groups vaccinated before the end of the year, with hopes of fully restoring economic activities and set on a recovery path. However, citizens have been warned that easing up doesn’t mean that the pandemic has subsided.

Rwanda has so far inoculated 1, 553, 189, people, as of Wednesday, of whom 687, 111 have got the second dose. With a weekly positivity rate  at 3% and daily figures fluctuating between 400 and 500, many are anticipating better days ahead towards the end of the year. COVID-19 has so far claimed 1,097 people since its arrival in March 2020.




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