Victoria Falls council okays informal traders Mrs Janet Ndlovu, a vegetable vendor in Victoria Falls

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
SOME informal traders in Victoria Falls have resumed business after the city council allowed them back to their vending stalls following pronouncement by President Mnangagwa for informal businesses to reopen.

President Mnangagwa on Monday extended Level 4 lockdown by a further two weeks and allowed the informal sector to open but subject to meeting World Health Organisation Covid-19 protocols.

Private sector organisations seeking to resume work were also encouraged to test all employees prior to opening.

Informal traders such as curio and flea market operators are some of the businesses that were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some vendors have been operating from their homes displaying clothes on verandas while others have been using vehicle boots.

The Victoria Falls City Council disinfected some of the market places on Wednesday before allowing vendors in.

Traders at council-owned Chinotimba Flea Market started displaying their stuff yesterday while those at the privately run Comesa Market popularly known as Emaplankeni had not opened yesterday.

Illegal money changers, better known as osiphatheleni were also back on the streets especially at Sawanga Mall, Emaplankeni and along Park Way in the city centre.

Some curio shops at Landela Complex had opened but street curio vendors whose market is largely tourists are yet to resume.

Those who spoke to Chronicle said business was low.

“We opened today after the council sprayed the premises and told us to resume business but ordered us to follow regulations like social distancing and sanitising. We hope there will be business because so far it looks gloomy,” said Ms Sithabile Moyo, a trader at Chinotimba Flea Market.

Ms Melody Matsika, a shopkeeper at one of the curio shops said they only opened to clean the premises hoping business will come their way.

A driving school operator who preferred to remain anonymous said while the sector has been allowed to open, there will be no business in the absence of the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) which is still closed.

“To us it’s like we are still closed. We have been told to open but as long as VID is closed there will be no clients,” he said.

Vegetable vendors are also concerned about low business.

“We have been operating all along but there is no business at all. We have to open from 8am to 5pm but real business in this sector is between 5pm to 7pm.

“We hope the vaccine rollout will be sped up so that this pandemic ends and businesses open,” said Mrs Janet Ndlovu, who operates from Chinotimba Vegetable Market.

The reopening of flea markets is good news for some small grocery shops and restaurants that operate near Chinotimba Old Market and Emaplankeni whose clients are usually vendors.

Acting Victoria Falls Town Clerk Ms Kholwani Mangena urged businesses to adhere to regulations.

“In response to the President who directed that the informal sector be open for business, we have proceeded to sanitise all registered vending premises with hydroperoxide and ensured that all premises have temperature check points. We have enforced social distancing by limiting the number of vendors,” she said.

Ms Mangena said the council is working with health authorities to ensure smooth reopening and adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

She said usual requirements and licences are still applicable and only those meeting the requirements will be allowed to operate.-@ncubeleon

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