THE popular weekend Khothama flea market in Bulawayo has been shut down as the city council ups its game in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Announcing a raft of interventions against the pandemic, the city’s mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said the closure of the flea market, situated near Revenue Hall, was in line with the Government’s directive on social distancing.
He said while council was aware that the flea market provided a source of revenue for the city’s informal traders, it also increased the residents’ vulnerability to the virus considering the large numbers that congregated at the stalls.
Clr Mguni further announced that council was also limiting the number of mourners attending burials to just 30, while grave backfilling will now only be done by council staff.
“As per the Government of Zimbabwe proclamation, the city reiterates that there be limitations of attendees at gatherings such as churches, funerals, weddings and meetings to less than 50 people. We discourage gathering and appeal to residents to minimise congregating.
“The city will be working with the informal traders for a reduction of vending stalls at the markets such as Fifth Avenue in line with the social distancing recommendation of at least one metre apart, shops are required to make limitations to the number of customers inside a shop at any given time, observe social distancing and they are required to make provision of sanitation facilities at each entrance,” said Clr Mguni.
Relating to the transport sector, the mayor said they will be engaging them to reduce their fleet, number of passengers per given time and also to provide sanitation equipment in all their vehicles and offices and display prevention measures.
“Bulawayo City Council will be scaling up Health and Hygiene education programmes to all stakeholders which include informal traders, travellers, shop operators and transporters. A hailer will go around sharing health messages for the public so as to empower the community of Bulawayo with information necessary for the protection against the global pandemic,” he said.