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Super Value Chief: Covid Vulnerable Must Remain Home

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Super Value’s president has suggested that all persons aged over 65, and those with pre-existing medical conditions, remain at home to facilitate the Bahamian economy’s COVID-19 re-opening.

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Rupert Roberts

Rupert Roberts, pictured, told Tribune Business that The Bahamas should focus on protecting those groups most at risk from the virus by permitting only “able bodied soldiers” to venture back to work with all the necessary health protocols in place.

Mr Roberts, who would be in that 65 years-old and over age group, said: “I know they have to balance the medical with the economic. That’s a big job and hard to do, but I think everybody seems to be coming to the conclusion that to open the country up, have the over 65s step aside, and people with issues step aside, and that the able bodied soldiers fight through COVID-19 and rebuild the economy.

“Stay out of it and let the able bodied go out there and practice the sanitising, practice the social distancing wearing the masks, and really I don’t think there’d be a problem if we did that. The problem is just 1 percent of the country practices social distancing. I had to shout to people to get away from me.”

Elderly persons, and those with pre-existing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and respiratory illnesses, are considered to be more susceptible to life-threatening COVID-19 infection because their immune systems are weaker.

While some observers may feel there is merit to Mr Roberts’ suggestion that these groups remain at home as much as possible, enforcing it would likely be impossible. They would also be vulnerable to catching the virus from younger family members, and experience worldwide has shown that younger, “able bodied” persons are not necessarily immune from COVID-19’s worst effects.

Mr Roberts, meanwhile, confirmed he had requested that food store opening hours be extended - a wish the Government granted at the weekend. The Prime Minister, in his national address on Sunday, said food stores are permitted to open from 7am to 7pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as opposed to the previous 5pm close, and from 7am to 6pm on Saturdays.

The initial Saturday closing had been 1pm. “The hours they had given us were far too short,” the Super Value president explained. “We normally open for 96 hours per week. They gave us about 32, and we asked for 52 or 54, Specifically, we asked to go from 5pm to 7pm.”

Tribune Business calculations show the Government initially allowed food stores to be open for 36 hours per week, but the extensions have increased this to 47 hours total. Mr Roberts said Super Value learned of the change too late on Saturday to remain open until the new closing, and instead used the opportunity to restock.

“It’s going to be a lot smoother,” he added of the extended hours. “The cashiers and managers described the short hours as panic. We just couldn’t manage the short hours. To stretch it to four days, 7am to 7pm and 7am to 6pm, makes a lot more sense.

“If we are open for four days and closed for three it allows us restock on the three days that we’re closed. There were too many lines and it was too difficult to keep social distancing. That’s what we were worried with. Shorter hours tender to cluster people together instead of social distancing.”

Comments

xtreme2x 8 months ago

Lol...The dumbest thing i've ever heard. how many businesses are own and operated by persons 65 and older? what will happen to doctors who are at age, and still working? what will happen to members of parliament? And we are trying to open the economy!!!

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ohdrap4 8 months ago

Please ease the lockdown. Mr. Roberts needs money so much that he has sentenced me to house arrest.

I played my part buying all my food from him since March. But that is not enough.

This rethoric of vulnerable people has become outdated very fast. Covid affect the young and healthy too.

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xtreme2x 8 months ago

Another point. How many of the people that caught covid-19 and died are 65 and older?

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tell_it_like_it_is 8 months ago

One thing that he said that is true is that people can be really stupid about social distancing. When you mention to people to stay on their 3 ft. line and not right up under you, some of them want to curse you out - just for telling them to follow common sense. SMH

Bahamians can be really inconsiderate at times.

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tribanon 8 months ago

Easy for him to say Bahamians more susceptible to dying from Covid-19 should step aside. After all, he's filthy rich and can afford to hire others to do for him. What a detached idiot this guy is. Small wonder he is able to unconscionably price gouge all of us who shop at his food stores.

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bahamianson 8 months ago

How old is the messenger?

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tribanon 8 months ago

About 80....but he has nothing to fear.....there isn't a virus in this world that would want to get inside his body!

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xtreme2x 8 months ago

https://t.co/I4Nl8KAdev?amp=1">https://t.co/I4Nl8KAdev?amp=1

POULTRY AND SEAFOOD ARE NOW BEING TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

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ohdrap4 8 months ago

So? Do you season chicken and then put your finger up your nose? Chicken has a lot of nasties but the consuner knows how to get rid of them.

Another plot by the woke tofu eaters.

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buddah17 8 months ago

To be honest, if I was Mr. Roberts, I would have closed up my foodstores YEARS ago. To me their chain is probably (or HAS been) the MOST fair in prices, availability and working with local vendors. Why I say "has been" is because I understand there has been some new (family) management changes/additions, and I'm not up to date if that has changed any of their piorities and goals... If you think Mr. Roberts is a rip off, just look at the other foodstore chains in The Bahamas, (especially Nassau,) and imagin trying to deal with (only) them....

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tribanon 8 months ago

Oh pleeezzzz! The markup on non-perishables in Roberts' food stores is ridiculously high and most of us are sick and tired of hearing him and his daughter say time and time again it's because of the high rate of theft in his stores (that he can't seem to ever get under control - poor management perhaps?) or the need to compensate for government imposed price controls. And Roberts is doing his best to make government think his wholesale/retail food operations are the only game in the country when it comes to retail food sales to the masses. He's of course wrong about that.

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TalRussell 8 months ago

Who amongst The Colony's aged over 65, ain't got they own sets health ailments?
I sure hope the much aged over 65 Comrade Grocer Rupert's admission also included that 'em did make his suggestion whilst remaining confined under voluntarily lockdown from within acreages at em's estate - where home delivery unlimited supply groceries, fresh veggies, and choice meats be's not ongoing pressing financial hardship issue. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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Kuffriddims 8 months ago

Such a selfish inconsiderate thinking old fool. First of...if he cared about anyone during this now time...he could start by dropping the Vat. Isn't like he's not making a kill from the already less fortunate and as it stands right now...he's patronized by Government fundings (Social Services) and private personal pockets. He's made enough money to sympathize about the Bahamian people that traffic his businesses everyday before the pandemic and now so as a desperate call of demand. Rich and hogish.

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proudloudandfnm 8 months ago

Roberts can't drop VAT. VAT is law. Sheesh....

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TalRussell 8 months ago

How did Tribune Business Editor Comrade Neil prepare for his softball questions of the more 65 aged Grocer Rupert, obviously 'em didn't?
You'd thought Neil would've asked Grocer Rupert some deep hardball questions, specifically, what is 'em's stores' policy should a worker age 65 or older who falls within the high-risk category be assured they will be paid absentee leave pay, and what about workers whose family members are at health issues risk, are they to be paid their salaries and benefits to stay at home although not sick? Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

.

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trueBahamian 8 months ago

When the item says 99 cents as the suggested retail price and Super Value charges $4.00 or more, this needs to be addressed. Not sure why he needed to comment on the elderly shopping. What we need from Mr. Robert's is fair pricing and fruits that are not rotten or close to rotten. During this pandemic, Super Value being the good corporate citizens that they are took the liberty to increase their prices on certain items. Mr. Robert's should assist the elderly and others in our community by not further driving them into potential starvation. You may not get Covid-19, but starvation can be deadly as well.

Does anyone know if Price Control still exist or are they like the other government agency, somewhere collecting a paycheck but not doing the work.

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ohdrap4 8 months ago

Blockquote

"When the item says 99 cents as the suggested retail price and Super Value charges $4.00 or more, this needs to be addressed"

Blockquote

It is called cost shifting. Example: man wants to sell evaporated milk for 3.00. Price control makes him sell it for 1.00.

The 1.00 candy, which he was going to sell for 2.00, is not price controlled, so he puts tge 2.00 shortage there to make up the difference.

Same thing in the hospital, if they give you an aspirin, they charge you $10.

BTW, look it up online which items are price controlled. Very few, do the price control peole can do nothing about the price of canned beans, for example.

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xtreme2x 8 months ago

A couple years ago if you can remember center cut pork chop used to be more expensive than end cut.That was switch around and now endcut is more expensive than center cut. IS THAT LEGAL FOR THAT TO HAPPEN? I do not know if other food stores did it but am sure of supervalue

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ohdrap4 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes , just buy the center cut, better quality for cheaper price. I have always only bought center cut.

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bahamian242 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Clown Rupert, Grocery Store expert to Medical expert. I say Jack of all Trades, Master of NONE!!!!!!!

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