All Sunday selling in Monrovia has been declared suspended indefinitely as the government steps up measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
Although the country has recorded so far two confirmed coronavirus cases, as compared to other countries, 127 contacts — 23 high-risk and 104 low-risk people who came in touch with the first coronavirus positive patients have been documented by the government health authorities.
Sunday selling, from the onset of the Weah administration, was banned but came into force again without any statement from the Mayor’s office why it was reactivated.
This new act of suspension is defended by the MCC as one of several measures initiated to keep the people of Monrovia safe from the virus.
It is also unclear whether the measure by the city government is endorsed by the Liberia Marketing Association, the umbrella organization for marketers across the country.
The declaration by Jefferson T. Koijee, Mayor of the City of Monrovia, does not cover night clubs, mosque or church activities, areas that are noted for attracting a huge crowds.
Liberia has Christians dominating the population followed by those of the African Traditional Religions and then the Muslims. The decision has been a controversial one as public views have shown that Liberia under the Constitution is a secular state and therefore others who are not Christians should be allowed to work on Sunday.
In fact, the Muslims in this regard are insisting that the government gives them a holiday as there are more Christian holidays on the national calendar.
However, the new measure, according to Mayor Koijee, is aimed at keeping the people of Monrovia safe from the coronavirus and will be enforced by the Monrovia City Police.
According to Mayor Koijee, the Monrovia City Police will be visiting various markets to ensure that the decision is heeded, warning that the police will seize goods of anyone caught in violation of the mandate.
“They will seize goods of people who will violate the order and will not be returned. Furthermore, anyone caught selling on Sunday will be fined in accordance with the City Ordinance Law,” the Mayor said.
“We need to join hands in eliminating this Coronavirus, especially following the established protocols by health authorities.”
Prior to the confirmation of the virus in the country, the MCC said it met with township commissioners and community leaders in the bailiwick of Monrovia and Montserrado County to discuss several measures if an outbreak occurs.
“Today is a sad day for us. We were deriving measures to take a precaution of an outbreak in Liberia, but now it is measures to stop the spread [of the outbreak]. However, we are not deterred because we are a unique and resilient people,” Mayor Koijee said.
Defending the policy, Mayor Koijee said through the commitment and dedication of everyone, Liberia will be successful in defeating the global pandemic, stating “let’s continue to pray for this country and every Liberian.”
“We pray that no one loses their life to this virus. We are going back to the various communities to sensitize the people because Monrovia is the first place of the virus. We have decided to take charge to protect our people,” he added.
Other measures include handing out hand sanitizers to MCC workers, and increasing awareness on compliance with health protocols.
Meanwhile, Mayor Koijee has also established a 15-man task-force to ensure more awareness in every community across Montserrado County and to “encourage citizens to follow all measures put in place by health authorities as well as work collaboratively for the eradication of the virus.”
Mayor Koijee has called on all business centers across the city to ensure that buckets with faucets containing water mixed with detergent substances are placed at every entrance for hand-washing.