The Ministry of Local Government continues to take precautionary measures amid COVID-19.

In light of the national curfew which began yesterday
Monday 30th March, the Ministry wishes to advise the public and
market vendors of the change in the market operating hours across Fiji.

The Minister for Local Government Hon. Premila Kumar
said all market opening and closing hours have been reviewed and markets will
now open from 8am and close no later than 7pm daily.

Special Administrators, market masters and Chief
Executive Officers would be responsible for conveying the change in the market
opening and closing hours, applicable to all market vendors around the country.

Hon. Kumar stated that last weekend some markets were
overcrowded and it was evident that people were not adhering to the physical
distancing rule.

“We are already creating distance between vendors but
the overcrowding from the public needs to stop. For this reason, Special
Administrators at each Council are now working to decentralise markets to
prevent overcrowding. Small markets will be located at strategic locations in
towns and neighbourhood to give options to consumers to buy produce within
their area. People will be able to shop at a market closer to their home. This
will stop unnecessary travel to central markets,” said Hon. Kumar.

Whilst emphasising the importance of safety in a
market place, the Minister urged members of the public to change their habit and
routine when it came to doing their marketing on Saturday.

“I encourage the public to visit the market when it’s
not busy. Rather than going to markets on Saturday, I would encourage you to go
after work, during lunch hour and visit these decentralised markets that we’re
putting up in neighbourhoods, as well as parks and other places. This way, you
will be safe, your family will be safe and of course your community will be
safe,” the Minister stated.

Hon. Kumar said information on the decentralised markets
will be given out to the public in next few days.

“Everyone has to take individual responsibility. So if
I want to go to the market and I see a lot of people there, I shouldn’t enter,
as simple as that.  If everyone does that, we will be able to reduce
overcrowding,” said Hon. Kumar.

The Minister also urged all market vendors who have
more than 3 stalls and if they faced difficulties in paying their market stall
fees, to surrender the rest of their stalls.

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