Maputo — The mayors of the six municipalities in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia have pledged to do all in their power to reorganise municipal markets in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
The mayors of the provincial capital, Quelimane, and of Mocuba, Gurue, Alto-Molocue, Milange and Maganja da Costa met in Quelimane on Thursday to harmonise their strategy for implementing the government decree extending the state of emergency to the end of July.
Because they are often crowded and unsanitary, municipal markets have been viewed as posing a serious threat of transmitting the coronavirus from person to person. So one of the measures ordered by the government is to reorganise markets in order to guarantee social distancing.
Market stalls should be at least 1.5 metres apart, and there should also be a 1.5 metre distance between the stallholders and their customers. Informal stalls selling alcoholic drinks inside the markets have been banned.
After the Thursday meeting, the chairperson of the National Association of Municipalities, Calisto Cossa, mayor of the southern city of Matola, stressed that municipal managers must ensure the dissemination of educational messages so that the public understands the need to reorganise the markets.
Cossa said that similar meetings are happening in all provincial capitals to ensure that municipalities are all acting in the same way. He was pleased that the Zambezia mayors "were unanimous in understanding that the government measures seek to avoid the damaging effects of the spread of Covid-19".
Reorganising municipal markets, he said, should not be viewed as a way of hindering the free exercise of commercial activity, but of ensuring that vendors and their clients do not become active vectors of the community transmission of the coronavirus.