Chongwe Municipal Council has taken decisive action by closing down ten restaurants within the Central Business District for various hygiene and sanitation violations in order to curb the potential spread of a cholera outbreak.
The move comes after a joint effort by Public Health Inspectors and Council Police, who conducted inspections on Monday, January 8th, 2024.
Peter Sukwa, the Chongwe Public Relations Officer, issued an official statement detailing the reasons behind the closures. He highlighted non-compliance with food regulations, lack of Food Handlers certificates, and unsanitary food preparation in unclean premises as the primary reasons for shutting down the establishments.
The drastic measure aims to prevent further cases of cholera and maintain public health standards during the ongoing pandemic.
Mr. Sukwa emphasized that the local authority is committed to ensuring public safety and will maintain vigilance throughout the pandemic. The inspection efforts are not limited to the urban areas, as they will extend to villages where some restaurants operate without proper authorization.
In addition to the restaurant closures, the council confiscated 12 mortality chickens from a specific food place in Chongwe district. The rise in the selling of such chickens has raised serious concerns among local authorities.
Mr. Sukwa issued a warning to traders involved in this practice, urging them to cease such activities immediately to avoid legal consequences.
Affected restaurant owners were assured that they could resume operations after rectifying the identified issues. Compliance with the Public Health Act Chapter 2 of 1995 and the Food Safety Act number 7 of 2019 of the Laws of Zambia is mandatory for reopening.
Mr. Sukwa directed restaurant owners to thoroughly clean their premises before a subsequent inspection to ensure adherence to health and safety standards.
The Chongwe Municipal Council remains resolute in its commitment to protecting public health and safety, taking proactive measures to mitigate the risk of disease transmission within the community. He urged the local community to cooperate with authorities and adhere to recommended guidelines to contribute to the overall well-being of the district.