FEAR lockdown takes upshot on businesses

By Nema Juma

Fear griped the business sector in Juba as non-food shops remained locked due to the order issued by the government in the fight to contain and monitor the emergence of Coronavirus in the country.

The order was given to ensure the safety of the general public against the dreaded disease which has caused havoc in the world. Its effects are being felt in the neighouring countries. However no case has been reported in the country but the government has put in place checks and balances for any eventuality.

Business owners of non-food items in Juba are worried since they are the most affected with the government order that they might not be able to provide basics for their families as their businesses remained closed.

As a preventative measure against the coronavirus, the high level taskforce on coronavirus ordered the closure of all shops selling non-food items across the country.

Boutiques, hardware shops, electronics shops and others were not allowed to operate.

The order only allows the shops selling food items and other essentials items like medicine, fuel, groceries to operate partially.

Kalisto Morgan runs a boutique in Hai-Malakal; he now fears that he would not be able to feed his family if the lockdown continue.

Morgan worries that most of the people would not be able to fend for their families and how they would live amidst these orders.

“Closing our shops was an order but how shall we survive, it is through this business that we are able to feed our family and how comes some shops are still open,” said Morgan.

He urges the government to imitate the Rwanda government by providing free foods to the citizens.

Meanwhile Awadia Oniba, a widow who sells food items in Konyokonyo said things were getting difficult for her because there were no customers to buy her food since most of the business have been shutdown.

“My children cannot survive at home when I have come to work, well I know Coronavirus is killing many people across the world  but let the government leave the shops and put some conditions like everyone must put water to wash their hands before touching any edible food,”

“Our country has suffered a lot. We have lost many of our relatives, we are from war and now the coronavirus has come, where are we going? But let us be strong God is ahead of us,” she added.

Oniba urged the government not to put strict measures especially on women who were depending on the selling on the streets, adding that they play a key role in raising children.

However the Executive Director of CEPO, Edmund Yakan said the government should device other mechanisms of how to help the women by sensitizing them on how to use sanitizers and social distancing.

He said the current lockdown would have negative economic implication on the women who were sometimes the households and depend on tea and the restaurants.

“I will better use the option, they can put their chairs at a distance and can they be given sanitizers that whoever comes can wash hand in the tea place before taking tea.”

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