Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has asked over 70 arcades in Kampala to remain closed until they fulfill Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
While lifting the 42 days lockdown that was instituted to contain the second wave of COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni indicated that he will allow arcades to resume operations on condition that set up separate entries and exit routes, have CCTV cameras to monitor the arcades, provide handwashing facilities at all entrances and procure temperature guns to measure the temperature of all people entering arcades.
He also directed them to set up a committee to enforce hand washing and wearing face masks. The arcade owners were also required to have isolation rooms where COVID-19 suspects for holding suspects before they are taken to the hospital and stop vendors from operating on verandas, in corridors and in temporary buildings fixed in compounds of some arcades.
They were also required to have well maintained toilet facilities, garbage management systems with adequate dustbins and a stock of sanitary facilities like detergent and liquid soap for use among other requirements. Earlier this week, a team from Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA, Security and Ministry of Health embarked on an inspection exercise to establish whether the arcades had met the SOPs.
Now, addressing the press at Uganda Media Center, the Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Hajat Minsa Kabanda, said that 70 arcades were found to be non-compliant and have been asked to close until they adhere to the SOPs. Among those asked to close are Arrow Complex, Arua Park Plaza A and B, Avemar Shopping Center, Bamako House, Bonita Arcade, Bypass Building, Center Point, Dembe Arcade and Esco Plastic House.
Kabanda says that 76 arcades were found to be compliant and hence allowed to reopen. These include Annet Plaza Aponye Mall, Apple Towers, Arua Park Plaza, Atlanta Textile, Bhatia Towers, Bulamu Bwebugagga, Bypass Arcade and Chains of Liberty Towers among others.
When the president lifted the lockdown, many arcades rushed to open before they could be inspected. The Deputy Executive Director of KCCA Eng. David Luyimbazai says that they let them open but under strict observance of the set SOPs and that those that have not fulfilled the guidelines should close until they do so. Oftentimes, traders and customers in arcades ignore SOPs.
Luyimbazai says that KCCA working with security will keep monitoring the city to ensure that there is compliance to SOPs after re-opening.
The State Minister for Kampala, Kabuye Kyofatogabye says that in an effort to decongest the streets, all vendors should leave as the president had earlier instructed. He says that starting next week, KCCA will beef enforcement to ensure that vendors are off the streets.