Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has with immediate effect shut down vending bays along 5th Avenue between Jason Moyo and Robert Mugabe way in a bid to decongest the Central Business District (CBD) as well as to maintain hygiene during and after the national lockdown period.
The move is in response to a call from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water And Rural Resettlement, which is coming up with a raft of measures to be implemented and observed by local authorities in an effort to create a Resilient Food Supply Chain System(RFSCS) during and after the Covid-19 lockdown to avoid food shocks.
In a statement issued by the ministry, BCC has identified Food Distribution Hubs(FDH) or Food Markets(FM) and Vending Sites(VS) for the affected small-scale traders, which will be close to their places of residence.
Identified sites include Tshabalala market, Emganwini Mupedzanhamo, Sekusile, Nkulumane Complex, New Magwegwe Terminus ,Lobengula Market Konron, Magwegwe North Terminus, Old Pumula Market, Luveve Terminus Site,Cowdray Park, Entumbane Complex,Entumbane Flea Market, Njube Market, Mabutweni Market, Makokoba Market, Makokoba Efusini, Nkunzi Beer Garden, Burombo Beer Garden and some other sites to be identified.
“The council has identified FDH/FM and VS closer to the places of residence for vendors for two major reasons, firstly to decongest the city and secondly to comply with the guidelines of RFSCS,” read the statement.
“The country needs a resilient food supply chain as part of national emergency response strategy to COVID-19 to avoid food supply shocks which may be caused by the lockdown in order to guarantee every Zimbabwean an uninterrupted food supply during and after the lockdown period.”
The ministry stated that as these changes are being effected, farmers are urged to comply with strict hygiene requirements and social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as they distribute and deliver supplies to their markets.
“Council must ensure that there is adequate water supply at these identified sites. Where borehole water is used, water treatment should be enforced and there should be provision of designated handwashing stations in equipped with soap and/or sanitizer at entrance and exit points,” the ministry stated.
All vendors operating during and after the lockdown period have been urged to obtain vending licenses from either the local authority or the Agricultural Marketing Authority and should be certified to be medically fit.
The ministry further stated that all vendors should have personal protective equipment and ensure they sell at a distance of 1meter from the client to promote social distancing.
“Vendors must sanitise/wash hands after serving every customer. They must also serve all customers, no clients will be allowed to touch products on the market stalls,” the statement read.