Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Close to 50 arcades have so far adapted to the standard operating procedures set by the government as a precondition for their reopening.
The government had maintained lockdown restrictions on arcades because of difficulty to avoid close contact between people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to President Yoweri Museveni, it would be practically impossible to enforce social distancing guidelines in arcades whose shopping units are co-rented by several traders.
But this morning, the Minister in charge of Kampala Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi said that 48 of the arcades in Kampala had met the set guidelines for standard operating procedures. They include among others, Mukwano Arcade, Modern complex, Grand Corner Plaza, Arua Park Plaza, Arua Park Annex, Magoba Shopping Mall, Mega Plaza and Sekaziga House.
On the same list is Teddy’s Plaza, KK TRUST, Ham Shopping Grounds, Nabugabo Arcade, Avemar Shopping Centre, Kampala Plaza, Trust Arcade, E-M Plaza, and Galilaaya Shopping Centre among others.
Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde told a meeting of arcade owners this afternoon that the arcades that have conformed to the set guidelines will be opened not later than Friday after the list has been presented to the president.
The decision is the outcome of a series of inspections undertaken by Kampala Capital City Authority, the Ministry of Trade, together with various trader’s associations to ensure that arcades adhere to the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health for the purposes of keeping coronavirus disease at bay.
During the inspections, the Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA issued new guidelines requiring arcades to have a dedicated isolation room for possible COVID-19 suspects, handwashing facilities, cleaners dressed in personal protective gear and adequate detergents to use in cleaning. Owners and operators were also advised to install CCTV cameras at each entry, exit and level and a body temperature screening for clients and attendants using functional infrared thermometers.
Altogether, the inspection teams visited 87 buildings that were classified as arcades and whose operations are still restricted. But of these, 39 did not meet the set guidelines and will remain closed according to Kyambadde.
They include Qualicel Bus Terminal, Moonlight arcade, Kalungi Plaza and Printers House along Nasser road, Boost complex, Supervisor complex, Katikati complex, JBK plaza, Park View Shopping Centre Namaganda Plaza, Silver Arcade, Park Enkadde, and Peoples Plaza among others. But Kyambadde says that the verification exercise will now be continuous as the government enforces a phased opening.
Sudhir Ruparelia, one of the biggest landlords in Kampala said the reopening is a good step for the arcades that have complied to the guidelines.
Edward Kitaka, a trader in Nabugabo Arcade asked the government to expedite the re-opening process. He says many of them are struggling to survive and to meet their loan obligations.
Early this morning, police fired teargas and live bullets to disperse hundreds of traders in downtown Kampala who had reopened shops this morning despite their continued closure by the government.
Below is the complete list of arcades that have conformed and those that are pending approval.
Arcades cleared to operate
Mukwano Arcade, Modern Shoplex Grand Corner Plaza Arua Park Plaza Arua Park Annex Magoba Shopping Centre, Mega plaza Sekaziga House, Teddy’s Plaza Prism, E Tower, Kampala Plaza Shauriyako Original, Bulamu Bwebugagga, Ssembatya Arcade, Plot 15 A and B, Kabala Shopping Arcade Avema Shopping Center, Nambusi Arcade, Kisa Kya Mukama, Eagle plaza Galiraya, Discovery plaza, Capital Center Gadith, House William, Ham Shopping ground, E-M plaza, Royal Plaza, Hanifa Towers, Yamaha Center, Zai Plaza, Jjemba, Sky shopping arcade, Dembe arcade, Trusted arcade, Gagawala Shamba Complex, Apple plaza, kisekka Auto Center, KK trust, Vinco Arcade, Byamugisha Ben, Angels arcade, Zebra House, Nabugabo Business Center, The Arcade, Light Arcade, Market Plaza.
Boost Complex Superior Complex Katikati complex Arrow complex Peoples plaza Park Enkadde Mall Annet Plaza Silva Plaza Nagatule plaza JBK Plaza Temuseo Mpoza Namaganda plaza Park View Shopping Center Maria’s Galleria Universal House California Plaza City Center Complex Totala Business Center Gazaland Printers House Royal complex Nakasule, Zibula Atudde Katonga Business Center Haider Plaza Kalungi Plaza, Victor Nana arcade Qualicel Bus Teminal French Plaza Nasser Road Mall Dembelyo House Moonlight arcade Sal House.