SWAKOPMUND - The Swakopmund municipality will allow its formal and informal as well as street vendors to continue trading for now under strict health and safety measures.
This is according to the general manager of health services Clive Lawrence.
Several towns including Walvis Bay last week banned informal trading as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus. Four persons tested positive for the coronavirus in Namibia resulting in schools being closed and large gatherings being banned by government.
Lawrence this week told New Era that they weighed all the options, and found that banning trading will have disastrous consequences for the traders and their families.
“We opted to rather let our vendors trade under extreme safety conditions. We also created awareness of the virus and assisted them with basic cleaning materials, seeing that we do not have any local cases,” he explained.
Lawrence indicated that there are about 200 registered traders and about 150 unregistered traders currently operating in Swakopmund. Adding that the traders are well aware of the coronavirus and also took their own initiative by buying hand sanitisers for themselves.
“Hence cutting their only source of income would have been an extreme measure in this case. However, we are ensuring residents at the town that we will monitor the situation closely and will take further action if the need arises. So for now they can trade,” he said. CEO of the Swakopmund municipality Archie Benjamin also in a press statement indicated that they have adopted an action plan based on the restrictions announced by government.
“The action will focus on responses and control measures that will ensure the health and safety off all employees and residents at the town,” he said.
However, the Walvis Bay traders are finding themselves in a predicament seeing informal trading was banned last week as precautionary measure against the virus. Apart from that, the Walvis Bay municipality closed the popular Ekutu Latika open market in Kuisebmond, municipal libraries, museum, parks, swimming pools and all public markets at the town.
The ban affects hundreds of households at the town, who mainly survived from selling perishable food items, traditional food and other basic necessities to feed their families.
Several vendors yesterday expressed their concern saying that they are currently finding themselves in a very difficult situation in terms of paying rent and catering for their family’s needs as they do not know when the restrictions will be lifted.
The mayor of Walvis Bay Wilfred Immanuel earlier told New Era that they are aware street vending is the main source of income for many families and that council is looking at a contingency plan that will help them while the facilities remain closed.