KAMPALA — A combined force of Uganda Police Force and LDU’s has sealed off downtown Kampala—beating and arresting traders who defied a presidential directive on arcades and forcefully reopened for business.
Hundreds of traders have since been arrested from Wakisekka Market and other areas including Kikuubo, one of the busiest trading hub in an operation on Tuesday morning.
The development followed a call by their umbrella apex body KACITA for traders in arcades to open up shops despite Government’s decision to keep them closed over fears that they could ease the spread of COVID-19.
In a notice to all traders on Monday, KACITA asked all its members to resume work but “under Standard Operating Procedures.”
“Enough is enough, all traders operating your business in arcades, come and open your shops tomorrow 14th July, 2020 as we follow the directives of the Ministry of Health (S.O.Ps),” the body Chairman, Everest Kayondo wrote.
He said they have resolved to forcefully reopen the arcades, “because government has refused to listen to us”.
Arcades were among the places closed when the government declared a nationwide lockdown.
Later, the government eased lockdown and opened some commercial areas including stand alone shops, garages and Malls but arcades were left closed because government feared that they attract large numbers of people.
Last week, the Minister of Kampala Affairs, Betty Amongi issued guidelines to arcade owners before the business centres can be reopened.
The guidelines issued include; keeping the premises and access ways clean, hygienic and not blocked, and that corridors and access ways are free of any obstruction, stockpiles and temporarily structures.
The arcade owners and the business people who operate in the business centres were asked to have adequate natural lighting and ventilation in the premises, a dedicated entry and exit point and dedicated persons to man them at all times.
She said there should be a closed Circuit Television Camera-CCTV at each entry, exit and level and a body temperature screening of clients and attendants using functional infrared thermometers. There should be a dedicated isolation room in case they get any suspects.
There should be handwashing facilities, areas of convenience and dust bins. There should also be cleaners dressed in personal protective gear and that there should be adequate detergents to use in cleaning.
All tenants and attendants operating were asked to be registered and that they should wear masks and keep two meters away from their customers. Barriers should be put to ensure distancing.
The Minister said all customers entering the arcades should be wearing masks and maintain a two-meter physical distancing. Management is also required to appoint compliance officers after training them on the guidelines set.
According to Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Betty Amongi these guidelines were reached between KCCA, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and the representatives of arcade owners in meetings conducted after visiting and assessing the status quo in the arcades.