By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
SUPER Value owner Rupert Roberts says while the new COVID-19 restrictions will affect sales, store executives will not “second guess” the recommendations made by health officials to curb the spread of the disease.
However, he said his staff will likely “catch hell” due to the influx of shoppers expected from reduced shopping days. He also hopes to be granted permission for staff to restock shelves during the weekend lockdown.
Mr Roberts told The Tribune yesterday that while it’s frustrating that more restrictions have to be imposed, Bahamians must learn to abide by the rules.
“What I see is absolutely disgusting — disregard for the sanitisation, the masks and the social distancing,” he said. “I just don’t understand it and it’s very frustrating. They think they know more about COVID than the Prime Minister, the doctor and anyone and there’s only one way to stop them and that’s brutality.
“And I guess the government is now beginning to realise that they have to be brutal about it …I don’t think the lockdown’s good but medical people do and we’re going to support the medical.
“I’m not going to second guess medical. They tell us what to do to keep the country safe and we’ll just obey. We have opinions but when they make the decisions we abide by it 100 percent.”
Mr Roberts said ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement, Bahamians had started to panic shop. When The Tribune contacted Mr Roberts yesterday morning, he said lines were already getting longer at several of the supermarket chain’s locations.
He admitted that while the new restrictions will put a strain on employees, they are committed to serving the public to ensure that their food needs are met during the lockdown.
“Simply put, we’re going to catch hell,” he said. “That means Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we’re going to have a strain on our staff to do six days’ business in three days and I imagine that we’re going to have the lines again and we have to police that.
“When that gets out of control, you have to call the public authority and ask for either extended hours or law enforcement to come and enforce the six foot (regulations) and sometimes the (customers have to) wait outside in the heat.
“But, we’re going to do the best we can to get the cooperation…We work with, we will improvise and we’ll figure out a way to serve the public in the guidelines they give us.”
Starting this Friday at 7pm, a 24-hour curfew will be enforced each day throughout the holiday weekend until Tuesday at 5am. During the 24-hour weekend lockdowns, food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, construction sites and laundromats are prohibited from opening.
However, Mr Roberts said he will be requesting permission from the competent authority for workers to be able to visit the stores to restock items.
“We are going to request from the competent authority to ask for stock up on Saturday because if we don’t stock up on (Saturday), we’ll just open to empty shelves. It’s no point opening on Tuesday and we’ll have to open Wednesday. So, we’ll just have to ask for permission for the warehouse and the store to restock on Saturday.”