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Vendors welcome decision to relax lockdown measures

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Jeffrey Muvundusi

in BULAWAYO

INFORMAL traders in Bulawayo were yesterday full of delight following the relaxation of business operations, saying this was in the interest of ensuring survival for long suffering Zimbabweans most of whom are  in the informal sector.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday relaxed some lockdown regulations such as allowing the informal sector to operate subject to meeting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

The Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) director, Michael
Ndiweni, yesterday said the development fell within ‘‘what we called
placing livelihoods at the centre of enforcement of Covid-19
measures.’’

“As BVTA, we had already handed over hundreds of sanitisers, a
thousand masks, hand washing water dispensers, gave Bulawayo City
Council (BCC) road line paint to mark trading bays to conform to
physical distancing, recruited and deployed market bailiffs to monitor
and raise awareness on ways to reduce the spread of the virus,”
Ndiweni said.

He added: “We are going to urgently distribute more materials to
support informal traders and address the cost of compliance in the
interim, as well as aid them to comply with Covid-19 protocols. These
will include thermometers for use in enclosed markets…”

Ndiweni further noted that he was confident that a holistic approach
makes everyone responsible to play their part and prospects of defying
the lockdown will be reduced.

“We still insist on a cushioning package to bridge the impact and
shocks of the lockdown on vendors and informal traders,” Ndiweni
added.

Informal traders have been pleading with the government to allow them
to operate under stipulated guidelines as they increasingly got
desperate in the face of hunger and starvation.

The government has been resorting to lockdown as one of the main
measures to curb the spread of the pandemic which has affected the
lives of many Zimbabweans including top government officials.

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