Bulawayo minister warns vendors, small traders

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By Tamary Chikiwa

BULAWAYO Provincial minister Judith Ncube has warned informal traders and vendors in the city to adhere to lockdown regulations amid reports they are sneaking back to the city’s streets.

Following a spike in Covid-19 cases, the government imposed a hard lockdown last week with only businesses offering essential services allowed to operate between 8am and 3pm.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew hasalso been imposed, but wheeler-dealer vendors and informal traders are breaching these regulations and finding ways to reach their markets.

“I woke up to disturbing news that there are vendors and informal traders who are sneaking into the city. This is a sign of someone who doesn’t value their life or that of others.

“Most of them (vendors) do not even properly wear masks nor do they have sanitisers. Imagine if one of them is infected and customers touch their products? It means the city will be in trouble,” Ncube told the Daily News yesterday.

She said law enforcement agents need to tighten the lockdown regulations so that all offenders are brought to book. “These police officers are humans too and they are not immune to Covid-19. We are just burdening them with something we could avoid.

“As they spend time chasing after offenders, they will be exposing themselves to this virus as well. Let’s just respect humanity,” Ncube said.

Most informal traders were sneaking back onto the streets claiming they need to put food on the table despite the lockdown. However, Ncube urged them to come up with more innovative ways to continue with their businesses at home without jeopardising their safety and that of the rest of the citizens.

“Most of these people depend on this business, but let’s protect each other. You can work from home and display  your products in front of your gate.

“Manage numbers that come to buy, properly put on your mask, sanitise your hands and don’t go beyond the curfew,” she said.

Ncube said customers should be vigilant and protect themselves against traders who put their lives at risk. “If the trader is not observing lockdown rules, don’t buy from them. Why would you come close to someone who is not properly putting on their masks?” she quizzed.

The minister urged everyone to treat the lockdown as a matter of life and death and strictly follow the rules. “This is not a Bulawayo  crisis, but a world crisis. Watch out lest you cost your life and that of others. Let’s observe all regulations as stated by the government,” Ncube said.

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