Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has allowed 110 arcades in Kampala to reopen for business after four months of closure. Museveni ordered the closure of several businesses including arcades and salons at the end of March as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Speaking at Nakasero State Lodge on Tuesday night, Museveni said the salons and arcades that have been given green light to reopen, must follow the Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs] among them not selling in corridors, steps or verandahs, having temperature guns, enforcing social distancing and hand washing.
Others include keeping records of every buyer so that if anybody tests positive it’s easy to trace their contacts. Museveni also said that no arcades should have air conditioning because according to him, it’s what caused problems in Europe and the United States with the highest fatalities of coronavirus.
“Everybody must put on a mask and these arcades must have enough toilets. If you have no enough toilet we shall close you permanently. If you are looking for money look for money safely,” Museveni said.
The president revealed that there are 230 arcades in Kampala of which 171 were inspected but only 110 met the requirements by Ministry of Health to reopen. However, he was very disappointed that most of them are selling merchandize from outside Uganda.
“I was told they sell Chinese products they make us buy products of China, India and Dubai. It’s really amazing…These arcades should shift and sell our products. Our pockets now support the Chinese jobs and then you cry that our people have no jobs,” Museveni said.
For salons, the president said they should also reopen tomorrow provided the operators have masks and face shields. He also directed all saloons to secure temperature guns, practice social distancing, enforce hand washing and to allow air conditioning. He said those in towns should have partitions where customers can wait from.
The other big pronouncement of the night was increasing the curfew hours from 7 pm-6:30 to 9pm -5:30 am. But for the Bodaboda, they must stop at 6pm because according to Museveni, they have been used for crime.
“Until they clean themselves of criminals they will stop at 6 pm,” he said. For Bodabodas, the president also lifted a ban on them starting next week July 27. He said at first he thought he would not have a solution, but the scientists said all riders on top of putting on face masks, they must also have helmets.
The passenger too must have a face mask. He also directed that all Bodaboda must have a record of everybody they transport; their contact and the national ID number. “In case if the Bodaboda gets sick we want to know how many people he came in contact with,” Museveni said. This might be very hard to enforce especially that many riders are illiterate.
For borders and the Entebbe International Airport, the President said they will remain closed until the situation abroad cools down. “I know we make a lot of money because of tourism but life is better than wealth,” the president said.
Meanwhile, the President has warned all those who want to riot because of the lockdown. “If you riot we shall be here waiting for you, you can go with your foreigners we shall wait for you…We shall crush you,” Museveni said.
In the days leading to Tuesday’s address, people had started getting agitated threatening to demonstrate if government doesn’t reopen their businesses. A case in point are the people who work in arcades and bodaboda riders.