The Swakopmund municipality has already begun developing programmes to assist community members who have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic once the lockdown has been completely lifted.
Swakopmund mayor Nehemiah Salomon shared these sentiments this week, as over 2 000 tuckshop and small business owners flocked to the municipality to apply for operational permits for their business that have been closed for a little over a month since the beginning of the lockdown.
Not only have a substantial number of people lost their source of income and ability to clothe and feed their families, the mayor said, he noted with great dismay that some landlords were asking tenants who have been unable to pay rent during this difficult time to vacate their premises.
“We are aware of the challenges that our people are facing and we are still in discussions with stakeholders… Council will be taking requests received from the public with the finalisation of the operation budget,” Salomon said of their efforts to assist the community. He pled with landlords to accommodate tenants who cannot pay their rent during this time and added that they would be engaged to see what the municipality can do to assist them.
In the meantime, the municipality has been fortifying the town with an extensive response plan in case of a Covid-19 outbreak. “Our plan of action is focused on responses and control measures that will ensure the health and safety of all employees and customers of the municipality and residents of Swakopmund at large,” he said.
Aside from employing the measures instituted by central government on hygiene and social distancing, the municipality of Swakopmund has also implemented an awareness campaign that was guided by the WHO guidelines. This campaign was focused on educating community members.
Mayor Salomon commended the law enforcement agencies (Nampol, Correctional Service and the Navy Army) who played an immense role in ensuring that residents adhered to the lockdown measures.
In the event of an outbreak, the municipality has assigned a portion of its bungalows, which will be used to quarantine essential service providers who will be on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. He said this measure was taken to ensure that these essential workers do not expose their families to Covid-19.
“We have also engaged the Ministry of Health and Social Services and pledged our support to the frontline health workers in Swakopmund by providing them with the appropriate personal protective equipment as well as the state hospital with the required specified resources,” he stressed.
Although the municipality does not have a plan in place where the education sector is concerned, Salomon said they are prepared to find a way to make sure the envisaged e-learning platforms reach the town’s less fortunate learners and students.
“I want to urge all our residents to adhere to the calls by our leaders and health officials… I want to urge them to adhere to the lockdown protocols,” he said.