National lockdown: Cape Town shuts down libraries and markets

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Locals will get to have their say on a new management plan for Greenmarket Square.


PHOTO: 
nicole mccain
Locals will get to have their say on a new management plan for Greenmarket Square. PHOTO: nicole mccain

The City of Cape Town has ordered the closure of privately managed markets and street traders stalls, as well as libraries, as it prepares for the coronavirus lockdown.  

The lockdown will come into effect at midnight on Thursday. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday night that the national government is working out relief interventions on how to reduce the impact on small businesses and the informal sector. 

The City said it was aware of the economic challenges the closures would bring, and appealed for calm from the public. 

Cape Town's markets are not only suppliers of cheap snacks, fruit and toiletries, but also provide sales places for art, curios and hand-crafted items. 

They also employ porters who pack up and take stock to storage facilities to lock up at night. 

The Greenmarket and Milnerton flea markets are popular tourist destinations, while other niche markets provide organic food and handmade items for sale.

Other markets, like in Parow, are relied on by many for low-price groceries and the sale of re-purposed goods as well as tools.

The libraries will close after weighing up the risk to staff and bookworms. All library material on loan from March 1 will be extended until the end of April 2020. 

If libraries are still closed at the end of April 2020, further automatic renewals will be considered.

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