By JOHN KOMBE
BAR traders and residents in Chongwe have been warned against resorting to clandestine trading and drinking amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Reports have emerged that some people were operating ‘underground’ bars and shebeens during the suspension of bar operations.
Chongwe district commissioner, Robster Mwanza, has since warned of stern action against traders as well as patrons because they were abrogating the law.
He confirmed that he had received numerous complaints on the resurgence of shebeens and that some bar owners were cashing in on residents with excessive appetite for alcohol.
Mr Mwanza said that some people had approached him to air their displeasure with the way the bars and night clubs were daring authorities over the the Public Health Act Statutory Instrument 21 and 22 by resorting to secret beer trade in order to elude the law enforcement officers.
The DC promised to investigate the matter and anyone found wanting would face the full wrath of the law.
He therefore appealed to those engaging in illegal beer trading to accept the reality of the pandemic and cease all illegalities.
Mr Mwanza said that profit was nothing if the health of customers and business people was being endangered.
He would immediately engage all relevant stakeholders for immediate action because those breaking the law were putting both the traders and the customers at risk of contractin or spreading the coronavirus.
He appealed to residents to be patriotic and take the interest of the nation first before their appetite for beer which could even be taken from the comfort of their homes.
Mr Mwanza stressed that the essence of the directive to close bars was not meant to punish the citizens, but to safe-guard their health.
Some residents of Chongwe have expressed concern at the emergence of shebeens following the Presidential directive to close bars and other risky businesses.
Some residents interviewed by the Daily Nation expressed displeasure at the manner some bar owners were hosting gatherings at their homes all because they wanted to make money.
Residents wondered whether the Presidential directive on the COVID-19 preventive measures was being enforced in Chongwe.
A resident of Libuko village who sought anonymity said that some bar owners had resorted to moving the businesses to their homes where people were freely mingling as if all was normal.
The concerned resident said, if the matter was not addressed, it would have a negative impact on the prevention measures or guidelines.
He appealed to residents to be wary of the dangers of social gatherings that would expose them to infection or infecting others.
Another resident raised concerns over the prolonged opening of bars and night clubs despite the directive by the Ministry of Health.
The resident of Chikwela village appealed to the local authority to ensure that the emerging shebeens were clamped before the situation got out of hand.
By JOHN KOMBE