Lilongwe vendors and customers have defied a Lilongwe City Council (LCC) order to wear face masks as a precautionary measure in the fight against coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The order, made in a statement signed by the council’s chief executive officer John Chome and issued on May 12, says vendors in city markets should from May 18 start wearing face masks.
Reads the statement in part: “It [the city] has registered the highest number of Covid-19 patients.”
The statement also says tailors should be making face masks to sell to people.
One of the traders who sells kaunjika (second-hand clothes) in Lilongwe Central Market Ryson Potani said LCC did not conduct
awareness on how to use face masks.
He said: “LCC just talks without action. Today no city official came to monitor the situation. Again, we don’t know where to buy them.”
Lilongwe Central Market vice-chairperson Alli Twaibu echoed Potani’s sentiments, saying the council just asked vendors to prepare for the exercise, but it has not communicated anything yet.
“The council said it would send us six officials to enforce the order. The council should learn to take action and not issuing statements,” he said.
But Chome said the statement was just a reminder to vendors to protect themselves and their customers.
“We do not expect 100 percent compliance at the outset, but we hope overtime this will become common practice,” he said.
Chome also said the council did not order tailors to make face masks, but encouraged them to utilise the business opportunity.
“Social distancing is proving difficult. So, vendors and customers should embrace other measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic,” he said