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City arcades, shopping malls not adhering to COVID-19 SOPs

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Arcades and shopping malls in the central business area are not adhering to the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.

In July, President Museveni ordered for the reopening of the arcades and shopping malls to enable business people work after spending over 3 months without working due to the lockdown and closure of the arcades.

During the inspections, the Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA issued new guidelines requiring arcades to have a dedicated isolation room for possible COVID-19 suspects, hand washing facilities, cleaners dressed in personal protective gear and adequate detergents to use in cleaning. Owners and operators were also advised to install CCTV cameras at each entry, exit and level and a body temperature screening for clients and attendants using functional infrared thermometers.

They were also to ensure social distancing, no traders or other people in the corridors, no traders on the verandahs and on the steps of the roadside and to make sure that they must keep records of everybody who buys from there.

In the first months  of reopening, many arcades and shopping malls put in place the SOPs and adhered to them, however, they have now  relaxed implementing the measures.

This Website visits some of these arcades like Mukwano Arcade, Grand Corner Plaza, Arua Park Annex, Sekaziga House, Arua Park Plaza, Magoba Shopping Mall, Mega Plaza and Modern complex.

Others include ; KK TRUST, Ham Shopping Grounds, Teddy’s Plaza, Nabugabo Arcade, Kampala Plaza, Trust Arcade, E-M Plaza, and Galilaya Shopping Centre, Court tower among others.

This reporter observed that some of the arcades have hand washing facilities but no one is enforcing the washing of the hands. People come in large numbers and bypass without minding about washing their hands.

At Court tower opposite city square where there is an urban supermarket there are water taps set for washing hands, however, a number of clients pass by without washing or sanitizing hands.

This reporter managed to access the supermarket and other businesses shops in this building using entrances where there are guards (Guard force security and investigation Ltd) standing with temperature guns without checking him.

Robert Semwanga, a temperature gun attendant at court tower says that he measures people and gets tired. As a result, he ends up remaining stationed in one position with his gun temperature pretending to be active.

When asked about the isolation room, he said that ever since they reopened, they have never got any person with worrying temperatures to take to their isolation room. In other arcades, even people in the business said they have never heard about isolation rooms in their buildings.

Semwanga says that he was told by his bosses that if a person has 37 degrees and above temperature measures, he or she should be taken to an isolation room. However, no one has ever measured that.

At Hanifa towers, Jimmy Kakooza said that the challenge they are facing is that people come at the same time and he can’t put them on waiting because washing hands takes time.

He also noted that it is also hard to enforce SOPs since the number of people accessing the building is overwhelming.

Lawrence Bukenya, a trader in Kikuubo dealing in plastics, raises a concern that people were serious when the country still had few COVID-19 patients but now when the number of patients and death is overwhelming, people have relaxed. He appeals to people accessing town to at least wear masks.

At both entrances to the busiest area of Kikuubo, in July this year, there were big hand washing facilities and two men used to force people to wash hands. However, there is none at both entrances now.

In all the arcades our reporter visited, there was no one registering customers, some people conduct their business in the corridors and at the verandas, both customers and business attendants are not wearing masks.

This Website also learnt that due to big numbers of people moving up and down, it has become very difficult to ensure social distancing.

There are over 14,993 COVID-19 cases, 7,939 recoveries and over 139 deaths in Uganda.

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