City of Kigali officials have proposed several solutions to address the woes of businesses experiencing losses in Gisimenti car-free zone, following a drastic decrease in consumers. KG 18 Avenue street in Gisimenti was designated by the City of Kigali (CoK) at the beginning of last year to allow bars and eateries to expand their outdoor seating areas, making it a car-free zone on weekends. ALSO READ: Why has Gisimenti car-free zone lost its ‘vibe’? However, the vibrancy of the area began to fade after a few months, with many consumers shifting to other entertainment places around the capital. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostom Ngabitsinze, and other partners recently visited the area to brainstorm on solutions in collaboration with the City of Kigali and Private Sector Federation. The Mayor of City of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa, said that one of the proposals is to regulate liquor stores not operating as bars, as some businesses had turned houses into bars and liquor stores, resulting in too many liquor stores operating like bars, affecting the businesses of legitimate bars and restaurants in the area. ALSO READ: New Gisimenti car-free zone draws mixed reactions Everyone wanted to open a bar and that is why many liquor stores were set up. These liquor stores operate like bars yet they have no license for it. This also affects businesses of bar and restaurants in the area. One of the proposals is to regulate liquor stores to not operate as bars. There are requirements to operate a bar and restaurant. Otherwise, many might be closed, because they are close to each other operating like bars, he said. Rubingisa further disclosed that an events management firm has signed an MoU with the City of Kigali to organize events in Gisimenti car-free zone to attract clients in the area. He also added that the city has introduced public toilets in the car-free zone, but businesses must also innovate and market their offerings to attract clients. Business owners in the area that spoke to The New Times requested the City of Kigali to dedicate one weekend every month to the car-free zone. However, Rubingisa proposed dedicating three weekends to the car-free zone and opening the area to vehicles during only one weekend to assess the situation. He suggested that innovation and creativity would attract clients, rather than opening for cars that might not even have enough parking space. Overall, the City of Kigali's proposals aim to restore the vibrancy of the car-free zone and support businesses affected by the decline in consumers.