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Amendments to emergency regulations disallow social distancing

Apr 21, 2020, 12:05 PM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

The new amendments to State of Public Emergency Regulations issued on 16 April 2020 ‘to ease the burden on citizens as well as accommodate all stakeholders is overriding social distancing, one of the key guidelines to avoid the spread and contracting of covid-19.

Excerpt from the issued amendments from the office of the government spokesperson, Ebrima Sankareh states that “following serious consultations and thorough evaluations of the impact of the Emergency Powers Regulations on the life and livelihood of citizens and its overall effects on businesses especially, those deemed nonessential, The Gambia government has amended sections of the regulations to ease the burden on citizens as well as accommodate all stakeholders.”

It states further that “Therefore, acting on the powers vested in him, His Excellency President Adama Barrow has today, amended the State of Emergency Powers Regulations governing open markets and shopping areas as well as the transportation of goods and essential commodities.

“Effective immediately, all persons trading in food products in any market in the Gamabia shall open for business between 6.00am and 1.00pm each day. Similarly, persons trading in non-food products in any market shall now open between the hours of 2.00pm and 6pm daily.”

However, since the announcement last week, it is now businesses as usual in the nook and crannies in the markets and even in streets. The streets are gradually become congested. Not only the children, but the working class that are supposed to stay at home has evaded streets to play football.

In spite of the ban of public gatherings ‘ataya rendezvous’ in the streets still entertains more than five people while some local restaurants in streets are still allowing their customers to sit and eat instead of ‘take away food’ as recommended.

Meanwhile, according to WHO guidelines, to protect oneself and family from coronnavirus pandemic, there is need to adhere to frequent washing of your hands with soap under running water, avoid handshakes or close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing. And when you want to cough or sneeze, do it to your curve (elbow) arm sleeve.

In addition keep social distancing and as well avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth especially when you touch any object until you wash your hand clean or use hand sanitiser.

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