Relief for residents, traders as restrictions eased

Monday, June 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Residents of Old Town, Mombasa, go about their daily activities, yesterday. Traders have expressed relief after movement restrictions in the area were lifted. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Residents of Old town in Mombasa were in a celebratory mood yesterday following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that the containment measures in the area had been lifted.

For the last one month, the residents of Old town in Mombasa could not walk in or out of the area after the government imposed movement restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, in addition to country wide dusk-to-dawn curfew and cessation of movement in and out of Mombasa county.

To them the lockdown was a “punishment” for refusing to participate in mass testing.

Abdurahman Waheed, a mabuyu (Baobab) trader recounted what he has endured together with his family during the lockdown that saw him shut down his business and stay at home.

Yesterday, Waheed could not hide his joy that he was now free to walk around though still observing the set Covid-19 precautionary measures.

“I had lots of bills to settle, I have a family to feed while at the same time I had to live with the fear of contracting the disease,” he said.

Another resident, Ibrahim Razak, described the lockdown as a “short jail term”. He says he had to endure a very hard time staying at home with his family without any income, despite demands to meet his family obligations.

A spot check by People Daily yesterday established that many traders had reopened their businesses.

In Kilifi and Kwale county, residents who have also been reeling from the effects of restricted movement expressed joy, saying the lifting of the containment measure will help to restart economic activities in the area.

However, some traders said there is nothing much to celebrate as the two counties’ economies majorly depend on Mombasa as a linkage. Kilifi is located North of Mombasa while Kwale is to  the South of Mombasa.

With movement in and out of Mombasa still banned, many people from Kilifi and Kwale who depend on Mombasa for jobs, goods and other services are still not out of the woods yet. 

Kenya Tourism Association (KTA) Chief executive Julius Owino said until other containment measures are removed, businesses will remain low because counties depend on each other.

More on National