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Coronavirus pandemic hits traders at City Market hard – VIDEO

With seven Coronavirus cases confirmed in Kenya, most organisations have asked their employees to work from home while most individuals have stocked up food supplies and other essentials, opting to stay at home until the pandemic is contained.

The situation has had a ripple effect on businesses and traders at the busy City Market in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) are complaining of low sales.

Built in 1932, City Market is popular for fresh meats that include beef, chicken and fish. It also has other sections that sell curio, restaurants that serve Nyama Choma fish and another that houses flower vendors.

“Business over here has really been affected. Clients are avoiding coming to the CBD and we are really struggling. The Government should at least provide sanitisers to all the stalls in the market because we are forced to buy and they are now becoming hard to find in the supermarkets. We need that in bulk especially for businesses that sell food and other perishable goods,” Martin Kimeu, a manager at the Al-Faraz Meat Experts stall at the City Market told Nairobi News.

City Market Stall Holders Association Chairman Meshack Mbuthia has, however, urged the traders to be resilient and maintain cleanliness in the market to ensure business operations are back to normal soon.

The Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Nairobi County Council in collaboration with Athi Water Works Development Agency on Wednesday set up several sanitisation points in the market, an effort Mbuthia lauds.

“People can now clean their hands as they get into the market and the toilets are also now very clean. Water has been an issue in the market before but the county has also been very helpful in addressing this situation – we get water bowsers every day,” he said.

City Market in the Nairobi CBD. PHOTO | JEFF KINYANJUI

“We understand the situation but food is a major commodity and people will still buy. Even though the volume of sales has gone down, I advise the traders to be patient, things will be back to normal very soon. We request the Government through the relevant authorities to come to the ground and sensitise the traders on what they need to do during these tough times. We need to play our part in ensuring the virus doesn’t spread more.”

“We always ensure all the stalls are cleaned after work and we are also planning a major clean up on Sunday in collaboration with the Nairobi County Government. We are not taking any chances and we will play our part as traders to keep the market clean,” he added.

Janet Oburu, the Market Administrator, lauds the traders for their efforts so far in ensuring the market stays clean.

“We have erected sinks and sanitisers but I would like to congratulate the stakeholders of the market especially the traders who have joined hands and bought soap and all that is required to do the major clean up on Sunday. Our work as the county is to support them and ensure everything runs smoothly,” she said.

According to data collected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), City Market receives more than 20,000 visitors in one month. It was declared a monument by the National Museums of Kenya in 2009 and was confirmed as a monument in 2010 through the Ministry of National Heritage.