Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has welcomed the move by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to suspend open-air flea markets in the city saying the measures will assist in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The local authority suspended flea markets which usually attract large groups of people and also limited to 30 the number of people who can attend a burial ceremony at any of the city`s cemeteries.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, five positive cases of Covid-19 and one death have been confirmed in the country.
Speaking to CITE, BVTA Executive Director, Michael Ndiweni said even though the ban on fleam markets will have a final impact on vendors, the local authority made the right decision.
“The suspension of Khothama open market has a serious challenge and implications to vendors and traders particularly for those that have been surviving by selling there during weekends, I think we are all aware that their incomes are going to be affected, they are going to decrease drastically because they will not have places to sell suffice to say some of them already have other places where they usually trade at but on weekends because that place has been very lucrative so they have been going there to supplement their income,” said Ndiweni.
He, however, noted that the move is going to have a serious impact on vendors financial livelihood.
“It is going to have a serious impact on their finances which also impacts on their livelihoods, household income, access to basic services at home to buy food, to save for school fees and medication, so it has a serious impact, but we are faced with a global disaster the Covid -19 pandemic that we need to put our heads together and see what we can do to try and combat the spread of the virus,” said Ndiweni.
The BVTA Director added that they have since started encouraging their members to follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) preventive measures on COVID-19.
“As far as we are concerned as BVTA, we have been talking to our members and encouraging them to observe the WHO recommended precaution measures, washing their hands with soap or using sanitisers for those who have, observing social distancing, staying at home unless if there a need for you to go to the market for those who are at the markets, trying to seat one meter apart as ways to try and combat the spread of the virus,” he said.