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Cambodia: Street vendors struggle financially during COVID-19 pandemic as govt. continue to tighten measures to contain the virus

"Street sellers struggle with unpredictable market closures", 30 July 2021

Months after Phnom Penh’s citywide lockdown was lifted, market vendors said they have yet to return to their pre-lockdown income. And as Cambodia begins tightening restrictions once more to keep the new Delta Covid-19 variant in check, some say they fear what will come next.

Sitha, 63, who previously sold fruit outside of Tuol Tompoung, or Russian, market, said she has struggled to repay debts after her income plummeted during Phnom Penh’s last lockdown, which was lifted ...

“Before the outbreak of Covid-19, I sold fruit and could make around 300,000 to 400,000 riel per day (about $100) so I was able to support my family,” she said. “But right now, I only make an income of 40,000-50,000riel ($12.5).”

… Phnom Penh deputy governor Keut Chhe, said the government is attempting to formalize all vendors because it is more difficult to enforce health guidelines in unregulated spaces.

“Informal markets are messy. Those who have been selling on the streets without any rules, they are not allowed to sell,” he said.

“The authorities are kind enough not to close their store, but instead urge them to implement measures of the Health Ministry,” he said.

… San Chey, executive director at the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia (ANSA), said that authorities should give more thought to the impact of closures and focus on how to keep markets safely open.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, vendors who are selling in the markets and street sellers are impacted because of the closing and reopening markets,” he said…