The Bolgatanga Central Market in the Upper East Region has been temporary closed down as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the Municipality.
Unlike all market days in Bolgatanga, both the new and old markets, which are usually crowded with traders, were empty, all stores and shops at both places were closed and locked while empty tables and chairs were overturned when the Ghana News Agency visited on Friday morning.
The GNA observed that few vehicles and tricycles were at the main station while there were no vehicle particularly the tricycles which are usually stationed at various exit points of the markets.
The Bolgatanga market day, which would have been characterized by traders trooping into the markets from communities within the Municipality and neighbouring districts including the North East as well as Burkina Faso, was empty and serene.
It would be recalled that at the past weekend, Mr Joseph Amiyuure, the Municipal Chief Executive Officer for the area met with the leadership of the traders over a possible closure of the market, as part of measures to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Amiyuure explained that the Bolgatanga Central Market would for the next two weeks be closed down on every market day, which comes off every three days, starting from April 17, 2020.
“We have decided that we are closing the markets for four market days starting from today’s market day April 17 and there would be no market on the 20th, 23th and 26th April, which is 12 days and two days before the first market making it 14 days,” he disclosed.
The MCE said the closure was necessary due to the fact that the two markets especially the new market was usually overcrowded particularly on market days and as a result, the required social distancing prescribed by the President and health professionals was not observed.
He stated, “the virus has incubation period of 14 days and so it is expected that if they stay from the market for the next 14 days, people who patronize the markets and have the virus would start showing symptoms and will be quarantined so by the 5th market, those people will not be able to go out to do business”.
Mr Amiyuure indicated that the four market days set to be closed was subject to review to ensure that the spread of the virus was properly handled.
The MCE explained that the closure of the market was part of measures to prevent people from outside the region bringing the virus into the area and added that a security taskforce comprising the Ghana Police Service, the Military and other security services had been inaugurated to ensure compliance.
The MCE urged traders and residents of the region to adhere strictly to precautionary protocols and the President’s directives as well as provide hygienic facilities such as Veronica buckets, soap and running water at their various shops to ensure that traders practiced handwashing when transacting business.