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Covid Relaxation Eases 'Pressure' On Food Stores

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

Food stores yesterday said the return of Saturday shopping and longer opening hours will ease "a lot of the pressure and stress" caused by Friday afternoon crowds trying to beat weekend lockdowns.

Bradley Rolle, Centreville Food Store's general manager, told Tribune Business: “With the stores now being able to open up on Saturday’s, what that will do is that will take a lot of pressure off of that Friday late shopping. It was a lot of stress with that Friday late shopping; it was so crowded in the food stores at the last minute.

"A lot of people get paid late on Friday, and that was the reason why people would flock to the food stores that evening. Then we find ourselves leaving out of here late trying to beat curfew. So with Saturday shopping, that is going to take a lot of pressure off of us now. We appreciate the Competent Authority for doing that."

Mr Rolle said much stress was being placed on the company and his employees on Fridays because “they had to be paid for their lunch hour. We couldn’t take lunch hours because of the constant traffic. Once you see customers start coming in at around 2pm that’s it until 7pm. Saturday shopping is going to take a lot of stress off of us. Thank God for that.

“What was happening was that we were being supplied by our suppliers, so we had people that would work the shelves constantly all day. It was pressure on them, so now that we have this extra Saturday people can basically return to a sense of normalcy where you can take your lunch hours and don’t have to be pushing all day to keep the shelves stocked," he added.

“It probably wasn’t clear to us that when they changed the curfew from 7pm to 5am, we didn’t know that you actually could have come and stocked the shelves on Saturday and Sunday. We didn’t even know that until I actually checked with the Office of the Prime Minister and I saw it. So now that he publicly announced it that Sunday we can stock shelves, we are going to be okay.”

Mr Rolle said before the pandemic he typically opened on weekends. "Sundays we had shorter shopping hours. We opened up at about 7am on Sundays, and by 5pm we are closed," he added.

As for why the Government has not permitted Sunday shopping yet, Mr Rolle said: “I think there may be a strategy with not opening on Sundays, and also with the [weekend] curfew being from 6pm to 5am.

"I think they are still watching the cases. I think he is taking advice from the medical health professionals and it may be a strategy to still monitor the cases. So with the food stores being closed on Sunday it may help. Then you have shorter shopping hours on Saturday as well, so Saturday’s the stores close at 5pm. Normally stores are closed at 9pm on Saturday. So it is a strategy for health reasons I suspect.”

Atwell Ferguson, general manager of the Golden Gates Supermarket, said: “It’s just stretched out now. In other words, there won’t be as much on Friday. What was happening was that there was a lot of rushing on Friday, so there won’t be a lot of lines on Friday. That’s just less stress. The shorter the days, the more packed the stores will be, so with the Saturday now people have more time and less stress.”

Comments

John 1 year ago

So Saturday and Sunday curfew begins at 6:00 pm. Meaning stores must close at 5:00 pm. Imagine the rush on Saturday .

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DDK 1 year ago

It's all just a joke. Minnis must get his control fix by imposing constraints and restrictions. Pick an island, pick a time, doesn't matter which, as long as the control craving is satisfied...

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John 1 year ago

And should the country prepare for another surge as more Bahamians are traveling abroad and as more tourists are expected to visit? The US is going into its second week with new cases over 100,000 and one of that country’s top infections disease experts say the numbers cand double by December. Is the surge actually peaking like it did in this country and will decline and is this expert fear mongering as the US plans (hopes) to start vaccinations against the virus in December? They plan to vaccinate health care and other frontline workers first and expect this alone will take months. Months before the vaccine is available to the general population. Will the virus still be around y then? What about the company that was injecting volunteers with live strains of the virus? To test their vaccine under specific conditions. And the controversy with the vaccine in Brazil where persons who volunteered to take trials of the vaccine have died.

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