Traders at the Accra Business Central District are struggling to accept the fact that face masks are no longer an essential commodity on the Ghanaian shopping list.
President Akufo-Addo last night declared that wearing of face mask is no longer mandatory, during his 28th COVID-19 Update, to ease restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Among the measures were the reopening of land and sea borders, the full operation of entertainment centres, including bars and theaters.
However, some traders lament over the voluntary use of nose masks because it was going to further deteriorate the already worsened patronage of face masks which sold from above 50 Ghana Cedis a pack during the height of the pandemic to a paltry 8 Ghana Cedis during the dying embers of the fourth wave.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, some traders complained that due to the non-mandatory wearing of face masks, the price of the mask per carton had slumped from GHS20.00 to GHS8.00 this year.
Madam Love Mensah said she could no longer reduce the price despite the expected effect of the President’s directive because she had old stock, which she bought with a loan.
She added that she might not be able to repay her debt if she reduced the price of the masks any further.
“I don’t have any side business and I can only pray that I get enough customers to raise money to settle my loans,” she explained.
Mr Francis Adu Osei, another trader, said even though the face mask business was threatened due to the President’s directive, it would only have a mild effect on him as it was only a side business for him and many others.
“I trade in khaki trousers aside from the mask business so I would reduce the price of my face masks to clear the old stock because of the current circumstances. I will also give some out to my friends for free if patronage does not improve any time soon,” he added.
Speaking to a section of Ghanaians on the non-mandatory usage of the face mask, most people said they would continue to put on their masks for protection against any possible communicable disease and enjoy other health benefits.
Mabel Suuk, a shopper, said she would always ensure that her family put on a face mask when going out, to safeguard them from any infection.
She said the COVID-19 might not totally disappear hence her decision not to risk her life even if the President had ordered that it was no longer mandatory.
She added that Ghanaians must take personal precautions and put on the mask when going out to be safe from COVID-19.
Madam Comfort Coffie, a trader, also said the use of a mask had other benefits and because of that she would always wear it in public.
She said the use of a mask helped her from inhaling dust and other pollutants in the air, which she felt were dangerous to her health, making it very important for her to wear one whenever she went out.
Frank Owusu, a motor rider, however, said he would no longer wear a face mask simply because the President said it was no more mandatory and that it was a relief for him.
As the GNA team left the market, traders sat behind mountains of face mask containers which lined up the streets, attracting few shoppers who no longer bothered about what became an essential commodity in every Ghanaian home, bag, and pocket.
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