Applause for measures at markets to curb outbreak

Lyna Mohamad

In an effort to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Brunei-Muara District Office has relocated vegetable vendors at the Jerudong fish market to the camps behind the premises.

The move was highlighted by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong when asked about the measures taken for visitors to the marketplace, especially senior citizens.

Similarly, the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department has marked red squares on the floors near stalls of the Tamu Kianggeh Complex in the capital to indicate the distance required between people.

The minister called for the public to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to safeguard the health of both the vendors and the visitors.

Hajah Rosni binti Haji Mahrup, a visitor to the Tamu Kianggeh Complex, lauded the move by saying, “The presence of the management team and police personnel is encouraging because some people tend to forget about the current measures; it’s good to have them there to remind us.”

Another frequent visitor Mohamad Amin bin Haji Sarudin also applauded the initiative as “we can’t tell who is infected or who isn’t”.

Red squares can be seen throughout the floors of the Tamu Kianggeh Complex in the capital. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
A poster of COVID-19 preventive measures at the Tamu Kianggeh Complex

While the measures are overall well-received by the public, a few people suggest that a temperature monitoring station be placed at the entrance of the marketplace and a limit be put on the number of visitors allowed at any given time.

Meanwhile, vegetable vendor Hajah Aisah binti Haji Awang Inchi said she initially did not realise that social distancing measures had been implemented. But upon seeing the red squares on the floors in front of her stall, she was relieved because the move was indicative of the concerns shown by the management of the marketplace for vendors as well as members of the public.

She also noted, “When the squares were first placed, no one had any idea what they were for. But the following days, I saw that customers started to stand inside the boxes while buying vegetables from me.”

Zulkarnain bin Haji Salleh, a food and drinks vendor, added that he has noticed a difference in the public attitude since the red squares were placed at each stall.

“People practise social distancing the minute they step into the market,” he said.

He added, “There used to be quite a crowd here on Fridays and Sundays. But ever since the outbreak began, the public members have been more aware of the need for social distancing by not visiting in groups. It is really good to know that everyone is cooperating with the management (of the market). After all, these measures are carried out with the health and safety of us in mind.”

These red squares have also been painted on the floors of the Gadong Wet Market.