Bulawayo Curio Vendors Back In CBD

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO curio and fresh flower sellers, who abandoned their businesses following the gazetting of the national lockdown on March 30, are back at the Bulawayo City Hall, their popular vending site.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month downgraded Covid-19 lockdown to Level 2.

The partial lockdown has since then resulted in a slight return to normal day-to-day life in the city’s central business district (CBD).

However, the lockdown had taken a toll on the curio vendors who normally depend on international holidaymakers for business. Monday visited the flower and curio vendors selling their wares at the City Hall.

In most instances, the vendors were observing social distancing as well as sanitising potential clients.

“I started operating here last week following a meeting which we had with council officials,” a curio vendor who only identified himself as Brian said

“The council is still conducting further consultations with relevant authorities on whether we should continue to operate or we relocate to the high density suburbs like what happened to vegetable vendors.

We have also submitted our proposal to the council and we are waiting for their response.”

A flower vendor, Charity Moyo said the future of their businesses remained unclear as they are still playing cat and mouse games with the police and army.

“The city council has allowed us to continue operating but the problem is that soldiers and police officers are harassing us. We have taken all the necessary measures to protect ourselves and clients from Covid-19. The only place we can sell our wares is in town where there is a market,” she said.

Another curio vendor said although they are operating, the business has been subdued because of international Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“As curio sellers, we normally depend on international holidaymakers from countries such as Germany, USA, France, and the United Kingdom who buy our curios as souvenirs,” he said.

“Tourists from these countries have stopped coming because of Covid-19. Now, no-one is buying our items. To make matters worse we price our curios in foreign currency and our local people do not have that currency at their disposable,” he said.

As part of a raft of measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the BCC has relocated vendors from the city centre to high density areas.