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Shoppers Must Play By Crisis Rulebook

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

GROCERY store managers support new shopping restrictions outlined by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, but they fear the public will not adhere to the new rules unless they are strictly enforced.

Super Value employees said shoppers were still frequenting grocery stores yesterday, a day after Dr Minnis said families should designate one shopper per household to reduce crowding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Dr Minnis also revealed the government plans to introduce a food shopping schedule where shopping days and times will be designated based on the first letter of a person’s surname. He said details on these measures would be released soon.

However, the manager of Super Value at Nassau Street, who asked to be identified as S Cambridge, told The Tribune he did not believe shoppers were following Dr Minnis’ orders, because he still saw people coming in frequently to shop yesterday.

“They’ll just have to enforce the law, that’s the only thing they can do,” he said. “Because right now it’s not in place as yet so people are still doing their normal (shopping) routine and trying to come to the stores five, six, seven times a day.”

Mr Cambridge said he doubts the current trend will change until the law is “actually enforced,” because some Bahamians refuse to listen.

“When I spoke to the (Bahamian COVID-19) hotline they said more stuff was scheduled to be put in place and when they go to the House of Assembly today, they would finalise everything. But now, because it’s not finalised as yet, Bahamians will do what they want to do etc.

“So maybe when it is put in place things might change slightly, because some folks will follow the rules out of a fear of being arrested.”

Still, Mr Cambridge insisted “other folks” will continue to violate the rules because they have no regard for the law or authorities.

“Even now, me driving home in the nighttime, I see multiple cars on the road and the only people who are supposed to be on the road are foodstore workers and essential workers. So I do have my doubts, but I’m hoping the shopping schedule will help since people will have to bring their IDs.”

Mr Cambridge said the main problem is the fact a number of shoppers are buying things in small amounts, prompting frequent trips when they run out.

“We’ll have people come in the shop for one or two petty items, when they could just buy in bulk and stay home,” he said.

“You also have people who get sent to the shop multiple times a day. For example, I had a gentleman who was already in here four times already for the day and I know he gets sent out by the elderly and different families from around the neighbourhood.”

Vivian Knowles, the foodstore’s dairy manager, also agreed shoppers aren’t following Dr Minnis’ orders, because he has noticed the same people are coming to the shop over and over again.

“Like how yesterday was Sunday, the same set of people back in the foodstore the next day so it’s just repeat shoppers who keep coming back,” he said. “They’re just shopping for that one day and the next day they have to come back.”

Mr Knowles said because of the amount of people frequenting the shop everyday, he protects himself by wearing a mask and being “extra careful”.

He added while the shopping schedule may help the situation, it may not be 100 percent effective because some people may not “check for it”.

“We have some stubborn people,” he said. “Even though the government might implement it, some people ain’t going to follow through with it because they have developed a bad habit of coming in everyday and picking up what they need for that one day instead of just shopping for that whole week or that month.”

Mr Knowles said despite Dr Minnis’ orders for people to stay at home, he has seen family units come into the store to do their shopping together.

“People come with their whole families sometimes. I guess they’re using it as an outing to get out of the house. Instead of just sending one person to the shop to do their shopping, everyone coming out because that’s a way to get out the house. They ain’t taking this thing serious and until we have a serious outbreak, they won’t.”

However, The Tribune spoke to shoppers who said they were complying with the order because they understood the significance of it.

Gabby Hannah, one customer waiting outside in a line, said she was the designated shopper in her family.

“I’m shopping for me and my three kids,” she said. “I don’t see nothing wrong with the new rules (since it’s for a limited time). . .I don’t feel like it’s too much and in a way it’s a good thing.”

Other shoppers inside the foodstore also said they had no problem complying with the rules.

Terry Alday, said he agreed with the precautionary measures enforced by the government “100-percent”.

“I mean the coronavirus (pandemic) is upon us now and the one designated shopper thing is a great idea to safeguard and keep us safe. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I mean why not have one person come out all the time and do all the shopping? I’ve been the designated shopper in my family straight through.”

Another shopper, Dr Murthy Gali, added he believed the new shopping rules were “excellent and a sensible move.”

“They need to understand (Dr) Minnis is the prime minister and he’s also a doctor so he understands the logistics of this problem and people need to really listen to him. Whatever he says is with a medical background and he is emphasising precautionary measures so we should all listen to the instructions coming from the government to be safe.”

Comments

OriginalBey 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Today you cry they come too often. Tomorrow you'll scream they don't come enough. I support the law but be careful what you wish for. Thousands are unemployed and even grocery stores will fall victim to the lack of economic activity that lies ahead.

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joeblow 7 months, 4 weeks ago

... I believe the point being made is that if people sit down and make a list of what they need they won't have to make multiple trips in a day to the same store. They certainly don't need to have more than one person doing the shopping. That inconveniences everyone and increases their risk of exposure to possible infection!

Groups of persons going to grocery stores at this time should be ticketed for stupidity and fined!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I can just hear the owner of Super Value, the very greedy Rupert Roberts, saying to himself:

"I ain't gonna hire and pay people to check the photo ID of my customers to ensure they are complying with a decree made by Minnis. Let Minnis use his own limited government resources to do that."

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moncurcool 7 months, 4 weeks ago

It is the responsibility of the government to enforce their laws, not any store owner. When you make a law, you need to make sure you factor in the enforcement of that law. While I agree that people should seek to keep at minimum their movements, the law about you can only shop on certain days based on last name is plain stupid. It is an overreach and overreaction.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Rubbish. If, say, the order (law) is you can only have persons with last names beginning A through M in your food store on Monday through Wednesday then it is for the owner of the food store to put in place procedures to ensure compliance. The police then only need to occasionally spot check the photo ID of customers in the store and, if necessary, impose a fine on the owner for any instances of systemic non-compliance found.

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Dawes 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Ummm so your saying liquor stores don't need to check someones age when selling, as this is the Governments job?

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moncurcool 7 months, 4 weeks ago

We are not dealing with a liquor store. We are dealing with an emergency order just thrown out in Parliament for what, one week because the government feel that they need to curtail the movement of people? So they say you can only shop certain days? That is totally against our constitution on the freedom of movement. Period. . However, if the government wants people to only go out certain days, with emergency orders, it is then up to them to enforce that and be the check and balance. That is not the duty of the owner.

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BahamaPundit 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The Bahamas Government should mandate that every shopper wears a mask when entering the foodstore or interacting with others. This mask requirement is now being implemented in many other nations to limit the aresol spread of the virus.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 4 weeks ago

But not if the masks are made in Red China. The US federal government recently found that over a million masks it recently imported from Red China were defective. And it seems every big and small business in Red China has gone into the business of making masks for the rest of the world, many of which are useless in protecting people from the Red China Virus. Aaahh, yes, the irony of it all !

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B_I_D___ 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The W.H.O. says do NOT wear a mask unless you are sick, or treating the sick.

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joeblow 7 months, 4 weeks ago

@B_I_D__ ...because the person with no symptoms can propel the virus into the air by talking, laughing or sneezing, if a person with no symptoms wears a mask the can reduce the amount of stuff they spew into the air which is beneficial for all. Regular face masks will not substantially reduce inhaling airborne viruses though because their pores are too large. I believe the general trend is for regular people without symptoms to not wear N95 masks (leave those for the healthcare workers who have repeated exposure) because they are in short supply!

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BahamaPundit 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The WHO position is already changing. In the next month or so, everyone will be required to wear masks. The Bahamas should get a headstart.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The WHO has become beholden to Red China and is basically at war with the US, as is the UN in many respects these days even though the US bears the greatest share of the UN's operating costs. But the US has now wisened up to what has been going on for the past two decades. More to the point though, persons who already have difficulty breathing because of a pre-existing conditon will find it almost impossible to breath with a N-95 mask or its equivalent. These masks require fairly strong lungs to faciltate breathing through them in a way that maintains vital oxygen supply for the body. And sadly, it's people with pre-existing breathing problems who are the most vulnerable to dying from the Red China Virus.

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Eve 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Where can we get a mask or is super value handing them out?

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birdiestrachan 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Persons who shop everyday may be short on funds. and they may not have refrigerators

who knows what their situation may be??

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DDK 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Alphabetical shopping is plain ridiculous. The wearing of face masks makes more sense, I believe.

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immigrant 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I went to Supervalue on Monday and could not have shopped for more than one day. No eggs, no milk, very small selection of fruit, vegetables and meat. I thought Minnis said there was no need to panic buy/ stock pile? Well what is it??? Stock up or buy what you need? Mr. S. Cambridge, Super Value Manager...isn't it your job to keep the shelves stocked if you only want people to come in once a week?

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ohdrap4 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Looks like they put out daily amounts, so if you come late the stocks are gone.

I hardly buy fruit from them, expensive and rotten.

You can find eggs. For the modest price of one arm and a leg.

The milk is scarce, but there is plenty canned milk and bread.

The lines are long. People bring chairs.

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ohdrap4 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Me suspects tho, they have reconsidered the alphabetical shopping.

Not a word about it. April Fool's?

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