When the cases in the city started to increase Vizag Volunteers came up with an initiative to involve citizens to create awareness on the pandemic and reduce transmission of the virus. The idea was to protect the vendors to reduce transmission of the virus.
When the covid-19 restrictions started to ease in the city, people were back to business, resulting in increased transmission of the virus among the people. We tried to identify multiple scenarios in which the virus can spread and noticed that most people gather and care less about social distancing and face mask use near street vendors. There used to be 2-3 vendors for vegetables and other groceries in every street, and people used to gather around them; when most of the covid-19 cases were asymptomatic, it would be disastrous for the complete locality if a vendor gets infected. To reduce the risk of transmission and break the chain of covid-19, we identified high-risk zones and distributed face masks and face shields to the street vendors.
We also told the vendors about the precautions to prevent covid-19 infection and the following of social distancing by their customers. Our volunteers regularly visited those stalls to keep a check on them; this was done to make sure that they are using the masks and face shields. Our project in some places proved to be successful where the vendors followed all precautions and were safe. However, in some areas, the vendors acted irresponsibly. They flaunted the covid protocols, leading to infections, which later resulted in a loss of business for 24 vendors due to the complete shutdown of that area.
Vizag Volunteers started the campaign, "Save Your Street," in the unlock 3.0 to control community spread in residential areas. Initially, the street vendors did not follow the covid safety precautions; many people were affected via the touchpoints at food stalls, vegetable markets, & carry bags. So we trained and motivated street food vendors, informing them about the hygiene practices they have to follow during COVID – 19 pandemic.
Vendors were given a COVID protection kit consisting of a face shield, pair of washable gloves, hair caps, a packet of masks, and sanitizer. We explained crowd management for maintaining social distance, frequent washing, and sanitizing all food contact surfaces. Disinfection procedures for equipment, premises, high touchpoints, e.g., countertops/service utensils/open self-service displays/door handles, were also explained. In addition, we suggested and encouraged them to use digital payments to avoid direct contact.
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