Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
THE City of Kwekwe has started registering informal traders in preparation for their return to business.
The local authority has also embarked on a programme to construct more and refurbish existing market stalls so that they meet the minimum Covid-19 guidelines. The Government recently announced that informal traders could return to business as more businesses open after the national lockdown effected in March.
Kwekwe acting Director of Health Mr John Bandama, in an interview, said the local authority was doing all it could to try and regularise trading of flea markets dotted in and around the central business district (CBD). He said more than 1 000 traders have applied for market space to resume operations.
“We have so far received more than 1 000 applications for market space but we are saying we cannot accommodate all of them, maybe we can accommodate only half of those,” he said.
He said construction of new market stalls and refurbishments of existing ones was ongoing.
“We have tried to renovate the existing market stalls so that they resonate well with Covid-19 regulations especially social distancing. In fact, we are giving those who would have been registered lease agreements to ensure easy enforcement and follow ups by our municipal police,” he said.
He said some council properties that have been lying idle have since been converted into market stalls.
“We are saying not everyone will be back in the CBD. So we have come up with a mechanism of reviving places like Amaveni Long Distance Bus Terminus into a market stall. We have also converted other council bars in Amaveni and Mbizo into flea market stalls so that we try to accommodate as many as we can,” said Mr Bandama.
The development comes at a time when the local authority is also racing against time to complete the conversion of Garandichauya Beerhall into an infectious disease hospital. The District taskforce recently raised alarm at the way vendors had turned Mbizo 4 Shopping Centre into a market stall with no social distancing being adhered to.