Keetmanshoop — The Keetmanshoop municipality has resolved that it will allow street vendors to continue operating amid the Covid-19 outbreak, as it is unable to make up for the losses they will incur if they stop working.
The decision was taken at a meeting held by the municipality's management after close to 30 vendors raised their concern at the effects the shutting down of their business would have on their lives.
Keetmanshoop municipality spokesperson Dawn Kruger said on Wednesday that preferably, vendors would stop operating, "but we cannot stop them if they wish to continue as we cannot give them an alternative such as a subsidy to make up for what they will lose."
She said the street vendors should however take the necessary precautions at all times to ensure that they are safe and that their customers are kept safe too.
"They do not have the facilities the bigger businesses they are competing with have, but we have told them to take precautions and keep their places clean and sanitise their hands and their customers' hands when operating," said Kruger.
In a meeting with Keetmanshoop mayor Gaudentia Krohne on Tuesday, the street vendors questioned why they were told to close their businesses while retailers such as Shoprite and Pick n Pay and businesses like bars, banks and taxis are still operating normally.
They further suggested that the municipality could have at least introduced new operating hours for them in order to ensure that they sell all their stock, as some of them still have a lot of stock in their possession.
"We are sitting with the new stock at home and what should we do with it? The kids at home are hungry, we cannot buy food for them as we do not have money. How will we feed our kids?" some vendors wanted to know.
Last Thursday the municipality took a decision to shut down all vending activities at the town until further notice in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, Nampa observed some street vendors operating, with many providing hand sanitiser to their customers.