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COVID-19: Biggest market in Burkinabe capital reopens

Burkina Faso

Business resumed at the central market of the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou on Monday, almost a month after its closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The city administration decided to reopen the market to enable traders continue their daily activities and participate in the revival of the national economy, according to the mayor of Ouagadougou.

Armand Beoinde, Ouagadougou Mayor said: “Ouagadougou is a city of 3 million inhabitants with about 500,000 households, so reopening Rood Woko is to allow these households to live with dignity without falling into poverty and destitution.”

The virus forced the closure of the large market and about 40 others in the capital, two weeks after the outbreak of the virus.

Traders expressed relief at the reopening. One such is Emilienne Nana, who expressed the hustle of surviving in these times: “It’s not easy for us shopkeepers. We’re not civil servants with a monthly salary, so we sit around, if we don’t get paid, we can’t eat..”

COVID-19 as of April 22, has claimed 38 lives out of 600 cases recorded in the country. The central market was completely cleaned and disinfected prior to the reopening. Occupying a central square in the capital, the market has nearly 3,000 shops with about 30,000 workers.

Reports indicated that traders and customers who entered the market this week had to wear a mask, wash their hands and have their temperature taken as part of safety measures. The Mayor also said that only two people are allowed inside shops at one time, and that all shops had to carry hand sanitizer.

“We have suffered from staying home for about a month,” shoe store owner Ousmane Zongo, who normally makes up to 250,000 CFA francs ($413) per month from sales. “We kept on spending whereas we were making nothing, so we lost.”

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