By Benjamin Omoike
The Lagos State Government has issued new guidelines for the reopening of markets and shopping malls in the State as part of efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, following Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s announcement on the gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos from Monday.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Alausa, Ikeja, the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, reiterated that all markets and stores in the various Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas across the metropolis will be allowed to open from 9 a.m till 3 p.m on selected days.
He emphasised that everyone attending these markets and stores will be mandated to observe precautionary measures such as physical distancing and high levels of personal and respiratory hygiene.
Dr. Ahmed declared that malls will also be allowed to open with the proviso that stores will maintain a 60% occupancy capacity at any point in time, while also ensuring that a two-meter physical distancing is maintained between a shopper and the next person in the store.
The Commissioner maintained that food handlers must also wear masks and hand gloves in markets at all times, directing that shop owners must provide hand sanitisers and wash hands with soap and running water at all entry points, conduct temperature checks on customers and ensure that nobody is exempted from the process.
According to him, the guidelines are proactive measures put in place by the Government to curtail a possible spread of the deadly virus among traders in markets places and malls when the gradual ease of the lockdown commences on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Ahmed disclosed that stakeholders at the meeting, which was attended by the Iyaloja/President, General Association of Commodity Market Women and Men of Nigeria, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo and other major market leaders in the State, unanimously agreed that effective from Monday, 4th May 2020, food sellers and other ware traders should operate on alternate days in all markets across the State.
“In essence, those trading in other items and wares apart from food will only be allowed to trade on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while all food and farm produce sellers will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,” the Commissioner explained.
While stressing that there will be zero tolerance for all forms of street-trading, Ahmed disclosed that all Market leaders also promised to ensure that their members abide by all the stated guidelines, while the Ministry, Chairmen of LGs/LCDAs, Office of Iyaloja-General and the State Enforcement Agencies will ensure strict compliance with the directives.