0

‘Lockdown Directive Left Us In Chaos'

photo

Rupert Roberts

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Super Value's principal yesterday said inadequate warning of the weekend lockdown caused late Friday "chaos" at food stores with police officers even threatening to shoot unless persons went home.

Rupert Roberts told Tribune Business that the three hours' notice given by the Prime Minister's 5pm address sparked a rush to his chain's supermarkets, with many customers unable to obtain essential items - and staff racing to ensure perishable goods did not go bad - before the 8pm lockdown deadline took effect.

Arguing that Bahamians and residents should have been given more warning of the Government's intentions than three hours to prevent further panic-buying, Mr Roberts also questioned its newly-published food shopping schedule.

He said it should be implemented in mid-week, pointing out that persons whose names begin in 'P' through to 'Z' will have to wait until Tuesday to restock following the weekend lockdown - something he described as a long time, especially for those who failed to reach food stores before they closed on Friday.

Mr Roberts, who also suggested that the lockdown was not aligned with the typical Friday night pay received by weekly workers (those still employed), added that the absence of Saturday and Sunday in the Government's shopping schedule indicated it planned to repeat this weekend's total lockdown over Easter and subsequent weekends until it was satisfied COVID-19 is vanquished from The Bahamas.

He disclosed that Super Value will today begin installing plexiglass screens at all its stores, and providing cashiers with plastic masks, to protect them from COVID-19 by creating a barrier separating them from consumers.

"I'd like to say something about the short notice," the Super Value chief said of Dr Hubert Minnis's late Friday afternoon announcement. "We got three hours to close down. I knew for two days that Barbados was going to close down at 5pm, and I thought they had 24, 36 hours' notice. Three hours was very short for us.

"The word was out because they [customers] started to rush us at 4pm. Between 5pm to 6pm the police came around, and at some stores they threatened to shoot them [customers] if they did not get off the line and go home.

"We should collect the guns off these junior officers because they cannot go around threatening customers. Some people had not been paid, some people needed milk for their baby as they had no water at home. It was chaos at some stores," Mr Roberts continued.

"ZNS reported it was chaos at Top-of-the-Hill Mackey Street, but that was the only store that went well. The inspector from Wulff Road was in there shopping, and he took charge from the junior officers, and took it over and ran it. It really went perfectly. He has to be commended. I wish we could have had an inspector at every store so that it closed down properly.

"That three hours didn't give us a chance to serve the public, and then we had to secure our perishables. Something like milk keeps better in the cooler at 33 degrees. In the case you get fluctuations from 33 to 38 degrees, and milk with a three-week shelf life goes to two weeks. We had to rush the soft perishables back into the coolers and freezers."

Mr Roberts revealed that Super Value's staff faced a similar race against time with its fruit and vegetable produce, reiterating that "not enough notice" was provided to all food retailers. And he questioned how persons not due to shop today, as per the Government's schedule, will fare without food and drink supplies - especially those who were caught out by Friday's lockdown.

"That's a big stretch to go without water and milk for the baby," the Super Value chief added of Bahamians and residents not scheduled to shop until Tuesday. While those whose surname first letters range from 'A' to 'O' will be allowed into stores today, those with first letters from 'P' to 'Z' - including the elderly and disabled who fall into this category - will have to wait until tomorrow.

"We should point that out to the Government," Mr Roberts continued. "Unless they gave urgent medical reasons they shouldn't start this on Monday [today]. Starting it on Wednesday would be my suggestion. Unless they have medical reasons they should go ahead and tweak it.

"I think the senior citizens and disabled should be able to shop at any time. To only be able to shop between 6am and 12pm on Tuesday, and whenever the first letter of their surname comes up, that's too rigid. That's only my opinion."

Mr Roberts said he had also written to the Government about the health hazards posed by customers bringing unwashed reusable shopping bags into stores, pointing out that these potentially carried e-coli and salmonella bacteria from chicken and meat blood that may have leaked out.

"They're not washing the bags, and when I mentioned this to Dr Duane Sands he said: 'Yikes'. I said to him to see what he can do. They're going to have struggles suggesting to the public to wash those," he added.

Comments

Godson 4 months ago

Mr. Roberts, who stands to benefit substantially from the shopping is giving better and rational advice as to how to conduct public shopping. The Government should have consulted him. In any event, an important and yet crucial fact to note is that if the COVID-19 virus is not already here in Long Island, the only vulnerable means by which it can come into Long Island is through the weekly mail boat services coming in to Long Island from Nassau. The crew members would have interacted with their families and communities in Nassau, albeit, to a limited extent.

I suggested to the Government, the Island's M.P. and the relevant Ministry to arrange to have the crew members of the mail boats tested for the COVID-19 virus before embarking on voyages to the Family Islands, in particular, Long Island.

Whether they would listen and take heed would be a serious matter for them if there is a consequential outbreak. Like the P.M. said, "hard head bird don't make good soup".

4

tell_it_like_it_is 4 months ago

Agreed. These short notice warnings do add to the problem and do not help. I passed several food stores on Friday evening and the lines were crazy. Plus, social distancing was not being practiced.

This ad hoc style of delivering emergency orders (EO) is not wise. Why couldn't the order be given on Friday morning or Thursday evening? Don't let your EOs cause more issues than they are solving!! SMH

2

stillwaters 4 months ago

I am sooooo sick of all this damn whining

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

That's because you're much better off than the 99% with no doubt a very full refrigerator and freezer at home. Are you the kind of person who looks down on the vast majority of Bahamians who have been left impoverished by decades of corrupt elected officials and equally corrupt senior civil servants? Are these people, including the less fortunate and disabled, your so called whiners?

2

geostorm 4 months ago

@ stillwaters, all these people do is whine and complain. I agree with you its sickening. For goodness sake people, there are three days for each group to go shop. You don't have to rush to go on the first day. Make do with what you have until you can shop. Many people around the world got this done without starving. I promise you, you won't die from starvation. Why are we so extra?

0

moncurcool 4 months ago

It makes sense. You don't do a complete shutdown with only 3 house notice - it leads to chaos. Hopefully we will see if the PM has learned anything today.

1

shonkai 4 months ago

So the whole Roberts family has to wait till Tuesday to go shopping. Yes, that really is something to whine about.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

That's because you too, like @stillwaters above, are probably much better off than the 99% with no doubt a very full refrigerator and freezer at home. Are you too the kind of person who looks down on the vast majority of Bahamians who have been left impoverished by decades of corrupt elected officials and equally corrupt senior civil servants? Are these people, including the less fortunate and disabled, your so called whiners? Perhaps you think of them in their great time of need as the deplorables.

1

moncurcool 4 months ago

You missed what they were saying. They were not agreeing with @stillwaters.

0

bahamian242 4 months ago

Mr. Roberts maybe you need to run for Office, and correct these matters! You always have an answer to everything. But guess what? Your not no Doctor! This is a worldwide crisis, not just a Super Value crisis. Anyway your at the age where you are to stay Home! You need to stop thinking that you run the whole show of your Establishment, you have many assistants. Stop thinking of Money, and percentages, as you are the lucky one with the business that is needed in this worldwide crisis. Anyway it's time Super Value closed for a couple of days. Stop talking so much with an answer to everything, as you are starting to being banded as the Village Idoit!!!!!!!!

1

Porcupine 4 months ago

Sure. Shut Super Value down. Who will it hurt? A grasp of the English language also helps not being branded the Village..............

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

You try run a food store.....the business wouldn't last a week! And then where will the people go to buy what little food they can afford? The vast majority of Bahamians do not have well stocked refrigerators and freezers in the homes. Hell, many don't even have a home!

1

johnd 4 months ago

there isnt enough villagers in the bahamas to raise this idiot

0

TalRussell 4 months ago

If this shop by letters name does lasts for another 72 hours, the #$%$ing colony - goin go totally bananas!
Oh dear, Comrade Grocer Rupert must've gotten into some home-backed brownies to have imagined an incident whereby one the colony's armed constabulary, would've ever threatened shoot a member PopoulacesOrdinary for disobeying order to stop shopping groceries and return back to shelter-at-home.
It's not, if persons will be shot but when and depends on letter in their name. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?

0

xtreme2x 4 months ago

I UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING AND I AM FOR IT....BUT I AM NOW CONVINCE THAT THEY ARE GOING ABOUT IT THE WRONG WAY..HERE IS MY VIEW:

SHUT DOWN THE COUNTRY FOR THIRTY DAYS. BEFORE THAT HAPPEN, HAVE ALL FOOD STORES, WATER COMPANY AND DEPO AND PHARMACIES CONVERT TO DELEVIERIES. FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE, INSTEAD OF GIVING THEM THAT STIPEN THEY GET EACH MONTH. SOCIAL SERVICE SETUP A CONTRACT WITH MAJOR FOOD STORES TO CREATE A PACKAGE OF THE BASIC ITEMS(OIL,RICE, TUNA, SARDINE PASTE ECT. AND DELIVER TO ALL THE PERSONS EACH WEEK THAT SOCIAL SERVICE HAVE ON THEIR LIST. THAT WAY FAR LESS PERSONS WILL BE ON THE STREETS FOR THAT MONTH. MY 5 CENT

0

Clamshell 4 months ago

Since the earliest days of the internet, 30 years ago, typing in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS has been known as SHOUTING. Stop shouting. You may think your thoughts are more important than anybody else’s, but SHOUTING does not make your message any more important than anybody else’s ... and it’s actually very hard to read.

0

xtreme2x 4 months ago

HAHA, IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY TYPING...DON'T READ..AM WELL AWARE OF CAPS. THANK YOU

0

ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

I am concerned about the advice to use a delivery service.

I think its a great idea to shorten lines but have they considered that the delivery drivers going to everybody house could be the mysterious superspreaders that they looking for right in plain sight? Is there a plan to ensure that they are tested regularly? They might test ok today come into contact with an infected customer and become a carrier tomorrow

UPS America has already acknowledged having cases of covid19 positive drivers. If it could happen there it could happen here

1

joeblow 4 months ago

Bahamians are so used to incompetent leadership that some will actually think Minnis is doing a good job!!

1

ohdrap4 4 months ago

We just drove by supervalue Winton. The ball field is full of cars and the line wraps around the ball field. People brought their chairs.

The super value prince charles us crowded and very long line fir KFC.

People also lined up by Popeyes.

There is a tight crowd outside Fortune Star convenience store. Who would have thought people actually shop there.

0

moncurcool 4 months ago

I wonder if the PM or any of the people in Health telling him to do these things have to stand on these lines?

1

John 4 months ago

But Rupert Roberts have that half Haitians security officer who don’t understand English too good. He telling people they can’t let handicapped and senior citizens in until Tuesday. Roberts need to send him back home

0

BONEFISH 4 months ago

These arbitrary decisions are not well thought out.I understand the need for social distancing and the lock down to prevent the spread of the virus.I support the shopping days by surnames.But in a few hours,there is this announcement of lock down from Wednesday night.That created a next wave of panic buying. I saw that first hand when to Lowe's to fill a prescription for a relative.There was chaos at Lowe's southwest plaza.Super Value cross the road was a next mess.

1

DWW 4 months ago

giving 3 hours notice is asinine. closing food stores and pharmacies for 5 days is asinine. Plain and simple.

1

bcitizen 4 months ago

One lock down spung on the population without notice followed shortly by another longer lock down. What could go wrong? I understand the need for lock downs to prevent the spread but, the panic this has caused by poor implementation and the mass crowds outside of stores now is more harmful than the situation that was going on before.

0

CatIslandBoy 4 months ago

My friends it is imperative that we implement these measures immediately to stem the spread of this virus. The virus is not giving us notice that it intends to spread, and to kill. Now is not the time to allow politics to cloud our thinking. Of course Minnis is doing his level best to arrest this situation so that fewer lives may be lost and many more Bahamians, despite their political stripes, will have a brighter future.

0

gbgal 4 months ago

Chaos in GB yesterday and today with shipping schedule. It is a good idea overall but needs fine tuning. Does government realise there are only two major foodstores? The smaller outlets can't accommodate the thundering hordes of shoppers. People stood in Line for 5 hours yesterday just to get into the store. Social Distancing? What's that? Pushing, shoving and arguing was the way to do things. Then, after gaining entrance, shoppers proceeded to enjoy the outing, spending at least an hour moving around the store while the poor people outside tried to wait patiently, some in the sun as the lines stretched around the block. Fine tune the method and have someone to manage the system. I went home and sifted through the cuoboards!

0

gbgal 4 months ago

Apologies for some typos.... "Shipping" in First line should "Shopping" and "cuoboards" in last line should be "cupboards". Happy shopping!

0

Sign in to comment