The Kapana vendors at Single Quarters meat market have complained that their income has slowed to a trickle since the customers are restricted from eating inside the market due to covid-19 rules.
Biashara news interviewed Ngiluwa Tangeni Festus (29), a meat vendor at Single Quarters meat market who expounded that vendors, like musicians and other entertainers, earn their incomes in public, often from crowded spaces.
“The current system of take-away is not working in our favour. Customers will usually come in, buy meat and sit at the tables to support other vendors who sell porridge, salsa and drinks, now they are no longer allowed to do that. Also, our meat is usually complemented with fats which are likely to melt if moved from the fire, so some customers prefer eating there by the stoves” He said.
Tangeni said the Municipality should allow them to revert to their usual format, where people buy and eat inside the market. He added that customers avoid coming to the meat market because the queues are too long.
“If restaurants and bars resumed operations, I think the Municipality should allow our customers to sit and eat inside the market too, as long as we maintain the social distancing and people wear masks. Our security officials here are doing a really good job and they are reasonably strict with Covid-19 regulation, which helps. They have implemented several strategies like the washing of hands when customers are entering and ensuring that without a mask, one may not enter, to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19 among our people” Tangeni stressed.
The vendors complained that since the Covid-19 pandemic, they have always faced onerous regulations and punitive measures by authorities, including confiscation of goods and arrest threats but now, the imposition “take-away” rule to contain the spread of COVID-19 is a threat not just to their livelihoods but also to the survival of informal vendors and their families in some places.