Following the closure of the Kumasi Central Market on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the market is set to run on a shift system after it is opened for trading activities on Thursday, April 9, 2020.
This was captured in a statement from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and signed by its Mayor, Osei Assibey Antwi.
According to the statement, “each shift shall be identified by a uniquely designed identity card in red, gold and green colours.”
Each group on every shift will be identified with one of the cards.
“That the 5,825 food sellers shall be grouped into three, with each group being identified with the card. Only 1,942 members, dealing in all assorted commodities of all trade associations shall be allowed to trade on each day.”
Speaking to the media after touring the Kumasi Central Market to check compliance after its closure, the KMA Mayor, Osei Assibey Antwi, said his outfit will continue to engage the leadership of the traders to spell out some modalities before allowing them to operate.
“It is very simple, distance yourself from one another and do your business so that at least, if that person is infected, the virus will not be transferred to you because the virus does not have legs. It needs us to spread it. The central market is managed by the eleven-member committee with KMA having the manger on top of all of them. Beneath the second ladder, we also have the 66 commodity associations. After interacting with them, there was a need to shut down the market to pave way to have another meeting with them”.
The city authorities after engaging the leadership of the various groups at the central market resolved to group the traders into three batches to run a shift system to avoid overcrowding.
“The meeting came to a point where the traders had to be rotated and the leadership has agreed that it should be rotated. Hence, they will be coming to the market according to colours that would be given to them. So, we have red, yellow and green. In all, we have 5,825 traders at Central Market. We have red-1,942, 1,941 coming for yellow and 1,941 coming for green in that order”.
The traders expressed their willingness to observe the social distancing protocol and also go by the new arrangements to keep everyone safe.
“For the arrangements being made, I agree with them. I agree that we should be grouped so that we can ensure social distancing. We shall follow that strictly because it is a painful situation to get sick,” one of the traders said.
“Please we like the arrangement. It will really help us,” another indicated.
Lockdown enforcement in Kumasi and its environs
With respect to enforcement of the lockdown directives in Kumasi and its environs, it appears security personnel stationed at various points have intensified their efforts as persons seen around are made to answer several questions.
Those whose reasons are considered unconvincing are turned away, whilst people in commercial vehicles are occasionally stopped and asked questions about their movement.
Meanwhile, assembly members within the Kumasi Metropolis have asked the government to involve them in identifying vulnerable citizens who will require support.
Stephen Ofori, the presiding member of the KMA said, “We are on the ground. We know the community inside out. We know those who are so vulnerable that will need such items. So, I think it would have been proper for us to be on board to at least give them the list of the vulnerable people we know within our areas.”
Citi News’ Edward Oppong Marfo contributed to this piece.