For fear of contracting COVID-19, some residents in Tamale have vowed not to buy from traders in the Tamale Central Market, who do not wear face masks.
They argued that if those traders that failed to wear face masks begin to lose customers, they would have no option but to wear the masks, which would ensure the safety of all patrons in the market to help in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.
Madam Ayisha Abukari, a buyer at the market who spoke to the GNA on how to ensure that traders at the market wore face masks as part of measures to contain the disease, called for a directive to enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks at market places.
Madam Abukari expressed concern about how food items were displayed on tables without being covered and traders and prospective buyers negotiating prices without wearing face masks, saying, the droplets of the virus could settle on the food items and spread to individuals.
Mr Mohammed Iddrisu, another buyer, said his regular customer, who was not wearing a face mask, became angry when he bypassed her to buy from another trader, who was wearing a face mask.
Mr Iddrisu said all must see the fight against COVID-19 as a collective responsibility, the reason he could not understand why traders in the congested market could not wear face masks to protect themselves and their customers against the disease.
The Tamale Central Market, which opens every day, is a highly congested place, making it difficult to observe social and physical distancing.
Traders also do not have handwashing facilities to regularly wash their hands under running water whilst the majority of them also do not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers although they use the same hands to receive money and serve items to buyers.
It has come out clearly that, there is a complete disregard for the safety protocols on containing the COVID-19 pandemic at the Tamale Central market, a situation, which has become a source of worry to some customers and the few traders, who wear the face masks.
So far, the Northern Region has recorded 36 cases of COVID-19 with 13 recoveries, and most of the cases are in Tamale.
The country’s COVID-19 case count as announced today, May 26, stood at 6,964 with 2,097 recoveries and 32 deaths.
A vegetable seller at the market, who did not want her name published, said she knew about the COVID-19 and the safety precautions instituted against it, but said she was yet to buy a face mask.
She said she would begin to wear face masks only when it became widespread that customers would only buy from traders, who wore the face masks.
A fishmonger, who also did not want her name published, showed her face mask to the GNA but said she was tired wearing it hence she decided to keep it in her purse.
Mr Abdul Rahman Ahmed, Tamale Metropolitan Coordinating Director, acknowledged the situation at the market and said the Assembly, last week, engaged market leaders on the issue and would soon make the wearing of face masks compulsory at all the market places within the metropolis.
He said the Assembly was also working to procure veronica buckets, which would be placed at entry points to the markets to ensure regular handwashing with soap under running water at the markets as well as impress on the traders to strictly adhere to the safety protocols on the disease.