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Despite the president implementing a national lockdown, which officially confined people to their homes has resulted in many residents defying the order. In spite of the prominent billboards warning of the dangers of the virus, tavern owners, barbershops and vendors, allegedly transferred their informal businesses into their backyards where they continue to serve their customers items projecting the idea of business as usual.
The 21-day lockdown, which could be extended depending on the level of numbers of those who have contracted the virus and measures of its control, might see many drift into further poverty, hunger and homelessness. Three vendors and two tavern owners who are now conducting business in their backyards although reluctant for an interview, preferred anonymity.
A street vendor who sells fruits and vegetables, said that she was forced to dip into her already meagre savings to feed her family of six. Another backyard trader said, “We have families to feed and rent to pay, so if I don’t hustle hard, how are we going to survive for 21 days because I’m a bread winner”, and further mentioned that they understand and support the government’s measures to combat the spread of covid-19, but 21 days without trading will be a heavy blow for them. A tavern owner, who appears to be in her late thirties, mentioned that she’s chained to a pole as they have to try their best to evade law enforcement personnel every day.
Thapelo Magola Soweto Sunrise News