Traders at the Accra Art Centre say business activities continue to decline as measures taken to curb COVID 19 impede patronage of their wares.
They said most of the customers were foreign tourists who no longer visit because of the limitation on international travel. Local buyers who are normally celebrants at weddings, festivals and other social functions, could not also use their products because of the partial ban of such activities.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Delali Awuah, a shop owner of artefacts, said, “Business is no longer what it used to be since COVID-19 hit the county last year and with the new upsurge of cases, we can only imagine what is to come.”
He said that patronage at the centre drastically dropped because of the virus which had also led to a drop in production of the arts and artefacts and so far, they had not seen any improvement in sales since March last year.
Mr Awuah expressed doubts as to whether business would improve again.
According to him, businesses were virtually collapsing ever since COVID-19 pandemic cases were recorded in the country last year, adding that it was a tough time for them.
He said the ban on travelling was also a major factor, crippling the industry as many of their customers were foreigners, adding,” I am considering taking his business online as it seems safer”.
Mr Samuel Osei Yaw, a trader in traditional cloth, said many of his customers came to buy from the Arts Centre for religious programmes, weddings, funerals, outdoorings among others but “these types of gatherings are no longer encouraged so business has stopped moving”. He said many shops in the Art Centre have closed down due to COVID-19.
He urged the public to take the safety protocols seriously so as to control the spread of the virus and prevent a lockdown situation as many businesses would not survive a lockdown.
Mr Selase Dzigbede aka ‘Eselase I’, a musician, who was set to stage a performance at 10:00am this morning at the Arts Centre, also expressed disappointment at the upsurge of COVID-19 cases and said it had badly affected his art business.
According to him, he and his band had to cancel their trip to London for the launch of their new album as there was a ban on travelling and the staging of public performances in United Kingdom’s capital.
He said getting to the latter part of last year, it seemed as though the virus was fading away so he and his team went back to work on their new album and now that the work was finished, they were unable to promote it due to the upsurge.
Mr Sitsofe Gbezah, musical performer at the Art Centre, also said he did not receive as much performance invitations as he previously got due to the new upsurge of COVID-19 cases.
He said he wanted to migrate online with his art as it was uncertain when the virus would have its last dance.