Gweru money changers, vendors continue to violate lockdown regulations
Residents , money changers and vendors continue to violate lockdown regulations everyday, flooding Gweru’s city centre and conducting non-essential business in a number of suburbs.
Last month, Government extended the lockdown to February 15 as part of measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited the city centre as well as some high-density suburbs and noticed that there was widespread violation of lockdown regulations.
At Mkoba 16 Shopping Centre, there were two bars open, with patrons entering using the back door since the main entrance was closed.
The same method of using the back door was observed in Lundi Park and Mkoba 9 Shopping Centre as bottle stores that are supposed to be closed continued with their operations.
In the city centre, residents, money changers and vendors crowded on street corners and pavements.
Residents said they are being forced to engage in risky behaviour as they find means of survival.
“We know there is Covid-19 and we know the Government thinks it is doing this for our protection but the truth is that we live from hand to mouth, if we ‘lock down’ our work, we won’t have food to eat the next day. We have to choose between staying at home and starving, for this reason we are pleading with the authorities to consider us as essential services because we have to fend for our families in this January disease month despite the pandemic,” said Mr Maxwell Tinaye from Mtapa.
A vendor at Mkoba 16 Shopping Centre said even if they are raided, they will always come back to sell their goods.
“We are fending for our families. Yes, we are aware that there is Covid-19, that is why we are wearing masks,” said the vendor.
Gweru Residents and Rate Payers Association director Mr Conilius Selipiwe said adhering to lockdown rules and regulations is best as it is aimed at mitigating against the spread of the virus.
“Lockdown has so many impacts to informal workers including vendors for they rely on their everyday work to feed their families but adhering to lockdown measures is a merit to their health. People need education because Covid -19 is real,” he said.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said police will always enforce the law, adding that perpetrators will be arrested.
He also advised members of the public to report people running shebeens and opening beyond operating hours so that they are brought to book.
“The police will always be on the lookout for people who break lockdown rules and regulations. Residents are also asked to play their part by also reporting cases when the rules and regulations and the curfew are broken. Even where shebeens are being operated, the members of the public are encouraged to report to the nearest police station,” said Insp Mahoko. The Chronicle.