By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE BULAWAYO City Council has ordered all vendors operating in the city centre to move to high-density suburbs as part of efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
The city has recorded 10 COVID-19 cases.
However, the directive by the municipality follows an instruction by government for all local authorities to come up with a raft of COVID-19 fighting measures.
On Wednesday, Bulawayo City Council director of housing, Dictor Khumalo wrote to leaders of vendors’ associations operating in the city advising them of council’s decision to relocate and close vending bays in the city during and after the expiry of the lockdown period.
According to Khumalo, the affected vending markets will include the popular 5th Avenue vegetable market between Jason Moyo Street and Robert Mugabe Street.
“The city of Bulawayo in response has identified food distribution hubs or food markets and vending sites to comply with strict hygiene requirements of any identified site,” said Khumalo.
“Further, council has identified food distribution markets and vending sites closer to the places of residence for vendors for two major reasons, firstly to decongest the city and secondly to comply with the guidance of the resilient food supply chain system.”
The identified food markets include; Tshabalala market, Emganwini Mupedzanhamo, Sekusile, Nkulumane Complex, Burombo Beer Garden, Luveve Terminus and Nkunzi Beer Garden.
“It must be noted that some sites are privately owned and council is negotiating with the owners. Farmers will also be directed to deliver their produce accordingly. 5th Avenue vending sites will not re-open when the lockdown is lifted,” he said.
The city official added all vendors will be restricted to selling their produce at a distance of one metre from the client as a way of promoting social distancing.
“All vendors must sanitise and wash hands after serving every customer. Vending bays must have a continuous supply of water with handwashing facilities and soap provided. The facilities should be frequently cleaned,” he said.
Khumalo said trading will only be at designated sites approved by relevant authorities.