Liberia: Marketers Decry Government Ban on Street Selling Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Partial View of How Waterside Market was Empty Tuesday

Monrovia – Venders and street hawkers in Monrovia have expressed dismay over the form and manner state securities are enforcing the ban on street selling.

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Ministry of Health in a press release mentioned the ban on street selling as one of the several preventive measures that could curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

And on the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, state security officers took to the states of Monrovia to effect the regulation.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday morning at the Waterside Market, many vendors complained that they were unaware of the pronouncement from the Ministry of Health mandating all streets selling suspended for 21 days.

Despite being unaware, venders in Monrovia disclosed that their goods were damaged by state security officers on ground of implementing Coronavirus preventive meassure ordered by the Ministry of Health.

Massa Dukuly, a mother of 4, explained her ordeal she encountered with officers of the Monrovia City Police:

“City Police came here they started kicking our market and they say we should not put market outside. Some of us took money from the bank, we owning our susu people. So, when they say we should not sell, how we will manage to feed our family and pay our debts,” Massa lamented.

“If the President says we should not sell, let him take the responsibility to feed us. Because he (President Weah) cannot tell us not to sell and he cannot sustain us,” she added.

According to her, as venders, they are taking every preventive measure to be safe from the Coronavirus.

Fatu Kollie: “We are so much frustrated today; we took loan from banks and they say we should not sell for 21 days, how we will survive? It is through this business we trying to send our children to school and to feed our families.”

According to the Fatu, they as venders are abiding by regulations from health authority. She added that disrupting their normal business activities will ruin them out of business them the Coronavirus killing them.

“For us, we not are large in numbers, and we wash our hands every time we serve customers,” she said.

Another vendor, Siah Joseph complained that stores are opened but people like them who are selling in front of the stores and in the streets were chased by state security.

She said, “They cannot be taking us from the street and the people are selling in the stores. If the government is really serious, let them close all of the stores. Why they will say the people on the sidewalk should not sell and people in the stores should sell?”