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Hive of activity as residents do last-minute shopping

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2020 at 08:12hrs | Views
THERE was a hive of activity in Bulawayo and Gweru yesterday as hundreds of people made last-minute shopping to beat the Government 21-day lockdown to flatten the coronavirus curve.

President Mnangagwa on Friday announced the 21-day lockdown banning non-essential movement effectively from today. He said the army would be deployed alongside civilian authorities to ensure strict compliance to the shutdown.

All citizens would be required to stay at home, except essential movements to seek health services, buy food, medicines, other essentials and critical services.

Chronicle yesterday observed hundreds of people queueing at shops and fresh produce markets in Bulawayo (pictured right) to buy groceries to keep them going in the coming 21 days while others queued at to receive groceries sent by their relatives in neighbouring South Africa.

Both at designated pickup points such as Renkini Bus Terminus and illegal pickup points such as Harare Road, Leopold Takawira Extension, scores of commuters gathered in the hope of catching lifts to their various destinations.

Hundreds of people also gathered at the fresh produce market place to buy vegetables.

"This has been one of my busiest days and most of my products that include potatoes, tomatoes, onion among other things have been sold. I'm confident that by the end of the day I won't be left with anything except dry foods," said Ms Nokuthula Ncube who operates from the market place. A rank marshal at Renkini Bus terminus Mr Malusi Ndlovu said the increased number of travellers made them feel like it was during holidays.

A commuter who was travelling to Nkayi in Matabeleland North Ms Primrose Moyo said she believed that she would be safer in her rural home. Some of the people who were queueing at some shops said Government should have given them enough time to buy their groceries. They said although the Government announced that shops will be open, they think it will be difficult to move freely.

Medical doctor Dr Yaya Malango who was queueing to enter a retail outlet in the city said the lockdown was very critical to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Coronavirus is a very serious disease. It has killed a lot of people hence it is very good for people to stay at home. Some of us will be out there but it's good that others stay at home," said Dr Malango.

There was panic buying in Gweru as people sought to stock up on food and other essentials ahead of the lockdown.

Thousands of people in the city over the weekend flooded fresh produce markets such as Kudzanayi long distance bus terminus and KwaKombayi, retail shops and other essential service providers to stock up groceries and other necessities ahead of the lockdown.

Long winding queues were the order of the day as the shops limited the number of customers allowed inside to at most 50 in a bid to observe social distancing.

At PnP, OK, DCK Supermarkets, Gain and Metro Peach Wholesalers security personnel had torrid time maintaining the queues. Some products including sugar and cooking oil were in short supply in shops with unscrupulous individuals selling them on the black market in foreign currency disadvantaging those using electronic transfers.

Mrs Anita Mwale from Southdowns said: "Pressure is just too much from us customers because we are coming in to buy at the last minute. So, some products like sugar are running out. Most shops don't even have bread as we speak. We hope that we will be allowed to come for shopping when the lockdown starts because a lot of goods are no longer on the shelves."

Mr Everest Mbenjani chairperson of Gweru Traders' Association said they had experienced a surge in demand for fresh produce over the weekend, with some products such as potatoes running out.

Source - chronicle