OMUTHIYA – The Zambezi Regional Council has issued a directive to all businesses within the region to streamline their operations strictly to between 08h00 and 17h00. The council requested to adhere to the national health state of emergency for Covid-19 that necessitated a countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly pandemic.
The directive, issued last week Friday, came into effect on 20 April requesting all businesses to adhere to the set regulation, and the police was requested to strictly enforce the order.
“All businesses and markets approved to operate during lockdown period shall be required to close at 17h00. The filling stations tuckshops should close by 19h00, thus only fuelling is allowed beyond prescribed hours. This directive shall be applied to all business in the Zambezi region,” stated Regina Ndopu-Lubinda, chief regional officer and chairperson of the Covid-19 technical committee.
She, in the same manner, reiterated the call to businesses to continue adhering to the sanitary and hygiene measures as well as social distancing as stipulated in World Health Organisation standards.
“Our priority is health and safety of our residents, employees, customers and business partners. Now more than ever we are required to take right steps and be prepared to take up measures beyond what we are normally supposed to do,” added Ndopu-Lubinda.
On the other hand, the chief executive officer of Katima Mulilo, Raphael Liswaniso, said the town will begin with registering informal traders so that they can be issued with permits and identification cards to allow them to operate under the lockdown.
Many shops seem to have heeded the call as they have started placing notices using various platforms informing their customers of the new trading hours, New Era observed.
Government last week issued a directive to councils, town and municipalities to set up modalities on how informal traders can be operated.
“We had a meeting with the traders and it was agreed that the main open market should be cleaned to maintain hygiene before opening. Other areas of operation identified is Choto and Pasela markets. So, these are designated places of trading until after the lockdown,” stated Liswaniso, adding that other areas will be opened as soon as a new directive is received from the urban and rural development ministry. Queried why a market in Cowboy location was left out, the CEO said this is due to lack of control thus he did not want to risk opening it. “We want to ensure sanitation and cleanliness is maintained at areas of trading, as such the Cowboy market lacks control and we cannot take a risk of spreading the disease,” he added.
Some of the proposed goods to be sold include fresh vegetables and fruits; raw meat and fish; raw dried food, dairy products, raw poultry, cereals and flour products.