Despite appeals from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to stay home, scores of people disregarded public health regulations and crowded the Marabella market on Sunday.
Guardian Media saw firsthand as some people appeared unconcerned about the possibility of becoming infected, while others who were not willing to risk death, turned back when they saw the crowds.
The lines stretched around the market for hours while police officers led by Supt Cecil Santana mandated social distancing before entry.
However, inside the market people commingled closely, some seen with their masks under their noses.
Vendor Ria Kelawan said, “The situation here is very disturbing. We had lines wrapping around the market. Only two police came here at half six and locked the gates.”
Kelawan said the gates on either side of the market should be opened so that there could be better access for vendors on the opposite side. She said the market was poorly managed.
Guardian Media asked some of the shoppers about whether they were afraid of becoming infected in the crowded market.
One man said, “No what you go do? Starve!” before walking away.
Devica Chance said, “I’m just keeping my distance and I am not really scared. I am just taking all my precautions. I need to get what I have to get and then I’m gone.”
Theodora John said it was the first time she had to wait to enter the market.
“First time I came here and I had to line up. I think it is ridiculous. I am scared and I think I am going back home. I figure I will use some peas or something to cook, whatever. I don’t know when I am going to get inside,” John said.
Eventually, Senior Supt Cecil Santana, who is head of the municipal police, came to the market and started to disperse the crowd.
“We have a situation here that we are trying to deal with. The market is overcrowded. There are a lot of people on the inside so we are trying to clear the crowd on the inside and then allow people on the outside to enter in an orderly fashion,” he said.
He added, “We all know what is happening in our country and yet look at what is happening.”
The vendors called on the market authorities to open up the market every day so that there will not be any crowds over the weekend.