City traders vow to reopen arcades tomorrow despite ban

A security guard at one of the closed shops

A security guard at one of the closed shops

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has urged city traders to defy a government directive and reopen arcades tomorrow Tuesday. 

"All traders operating your business in arcades come and open your shops tomorrow on 14th July 2020 as we follow directives of the ministry of Health (S.O.Ps),” reads a leaflet distributed by KACITA titled 'Enough is Enough.' 

Last week, KACITA issued a five-day ultimatum to government to reopen arcades after four months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Evaristo Kayondo, the chairperson KACITA, says that they decided to take a bold step to reopen the arcade since government hasn’t heeded to their ultimatum. He says government issued guidelines for reopening, and the arcades were inspected but wonders why they haven't been reopened despite their commitment to comply.

He says, as a result, they are working with arcade proprietors to grant traders access to their shops while observing the set guidelines. The guidelines include among others ensuring that the premises and access ways are clean, hygienic and free of any obstruction.

The proprietors of the arcades and traders were also asked to have adequate natural lighting and ventilation, dedicated entry and exit points and dedicated persons to man them at all times. KCCA also said that there should be CCTV cameras at each entry, exit and levels and measurement of the body temperature of clients and attendants using functional infrared thermometers.  

They are also expected to establish a dedicated isolation room in case they get any suspects. There should be handwashing facilities, areas of convenience and dust bins. All tenants and attendants should be registered, wear face masks and always keep two meters away from their customers.  

Joseph Kamungolo, a second-hand clothes dealer, says his stock worth Shs 6 million is gathering dust in the stores at Gazaland. Kamungolo says since the lockdown was declared in March, he hasn’t had access to his stock and has been surviving on tokens from friends.

Another trader dealing in carpets, says he cannot access his store at Jesco Beauty Centre and yet his display at Gazaland is getting finished. He wants government to reopen the arcades to allow them to resume normal operations.  

When our reporter visited some of the arcades, he found the corridors congested with traders, customers and passersby. There was no sign of social distancing. Inside shops, only a handful of people were seen wearing masks. 
© 2016 Observer Media Ltd