Some businesses in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis which virtually collapsed have begun to pick up after a 10-month closure of schools due to COVID-19. Tailors and dressmakers, food vendors at schools, stationary shop operators and disposable face-mask makers among others are currently in full swing after schools re-opening.
Sales of face masks have gone up since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo resumed giving updates on coronavirus cases in the country early this year. According to some traders in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, the face mask business is better than last year as everyone is mandated to put on a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Veronica Anderson, in an interview with the B&FT mentioned that: “I noticed customers prefer to use the disposable ones because of their affordability and comfortability which makes breathing easier”. However, she said the patronage of African cloth or reusable face masks have dropped drastically.
Some petty traders also complained about subtle attempts by dealers to hike the price of disposable nose masks, while others are trying to create an artificial shortage. Some students said they were comfortable wearing the masks while others complained that wearing them for more than five hours makes them uneasy.
On concerns being raised by parents on the discomfort children go through due to the long hours of wearing nose masks, a Paediatrician at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Sekondi, Dr. Naana Esi Gaisie, noted that wearing a mask will not harm a child. She said the discomfort is because they are not used to wearing masks, adding that continuous use will get them used to it in no time.
Dr. Gaisie also noted that during break-times they can remove them if teachers or caregivers can ensure that they practice social distancing.
Food vendors at some primary and Junior High Schools within Sekondi-Takoradi have expressed happiness that schools have resumed.
Rejoice Awuku, a cooked beans and fried plantain ‘red-red’ seller. pointed out that “when these children went home, it was very difficult for me to cope. This is where I get my daily bread to support my family; I tried selling food in front of my house but the patronage was very low. Eventually, I took to selling sachet-water to put food on the table. We are happy to be back, and the COVID-19 protocols are being adhered to at the canteen.
‘Dress To Kill – a unisex tailoring shop at Anaji, a suburb in Takoradi – was busily sewing school uniforms from the basic to the JHS level. According to Emmanuel Otabil, the shop owner: “Businesses have bounced back; we took to sewing face masks during last year when there were no activities because of COVID-I9. Those that we sewed shirts, blouses, trousers, slit and kaba for did not pick them up from March until December this year.
“We are busy sewing school uniforms, because most of these school kids have gained weight and need new ones. These are being sewn during the day and night to be able to satisfy our clients, as well as schools which have given as contract,” he said.
As at last week, some clients have started sewing funeral clothes and African-wear for weddings for which invitations had already been given out before the president’s announcement on the limited number of people who are supposed to be at funeral and wedding grounds.