Observing Social Distancing At Westlea N. Richards A Challenge

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By Costa Nkomo

A HARARE councillor has expressed concern over failure by staff at popular wholesaler, N. Richards’ Westlea branch to enforce social distancing among customers, exposing both customers and staff to COVID-19.

The wholesale has become popular with Harare residents as it has a readily available supply of mealie-meal, which is currently scarce across the country.

However, Councillor Denford Ngadziore, under whose Ward 16, N. Richards falls, bemoaned the failure to observe social distancing at the trade centre.

He went on to plead with the police and municipal police to visit the shop and ensure social distancing was adhered to.

Zimbabwe is currently on a five-week lockdown to try and minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Ngadziore also took to task N. Richards management for failing to provide security personnel at the premises with face masks as protection against the spreading virus.

“We have approached management and asked them why the security here is not putting on face masks given that they are dealing with a lot of people,” he said.

“However, we were given an unsatisfactory answer that they were supplying the guards with the masks, but it was the security personnel that was reluctant to put them on. We then wondered why as management they were not giving strict orders for every employee to work a face mask.”

Ngadziore said at the end of the meeting with the management, it was agreed all security guards should wear face masks.

“They should also be able to enforce social distancing to avoid the spread of diseases especially COVID-19. We have also agreed that municipal police and the national police should be engaged to come and help the security here to enforce social distancing,” Ngadziore said.

Meanwhile, Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe questioned why some retailers were inflating prices of mealie-meal after buying the commodity at cheap prices from N. Richards.

She went on to implore government to deal decisively with the profiteers.

“The challenge is also with retailers. They buy mealie-meal here at ZWL$70 only to inflate prices by more than double at their shops. So we need to engage the government for this madness to stop.”