With two days of 19-hour curfews this weekend, several supermarkets and pharmacies across the country have announced that their doors will remain closed on both days.
However, the 10 am to 5 am curfews put in place to avoid gatherings on Labour Day and Father’s Day caused several people to rush to supermarkets yesterday.
President of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee said this rush was anticipated and they expect more today.
“I believe it was ill-conceived…we should have allowed normal shopping to continue because these things…it’s very characteristic of Trinidadians and even Tobagonians, where we say these curfews’ implementations coming into force, where they tend to rush the stores,” he said.
Supermarkets such as Tru Valu, Massy Stores, West Bees, Xtra Foods and JTA have posted notices that they would be closed on both days.
Popular pharmacies like SuperPharm and Starlite did the same.
Diptee said all the supermarkets under the association (between 250 and 300) agreed to close for the weekend.
Long lines were seen outside Tru Valu’s Long Circular Mall and Massy Stores’ Maraval branches, with some people even braving the rain to get their shopping done.
The car parks of SuperPharm and Starlite were also filled.
Yesterday, customer Siddle Ramkissoon tweeted, “Whatever COVID-19 spread they were hoping to avoid this weekend is definitely happening at the moment.”
He described the road and places as a “mess.”
Sofia, who tried shopping in west Trinidad, experienced a similar situation.
“I first went to Starlite in Diego Martin and the lines were EXTREMELY long, so I left, then I went Massy Alyce Glenn, I left as well, then I drove to West Bees, I also left due to the long lines,” she said.
Terry Latoo told Guardian Media that Penal was also very busy, especially during the morning period.
But Neville Kowlessar Jnr, who was in Tobago, said there was no rush there.
Diptee said his staff is working with the protocols implemented by the Ministry of Health but the crowds did not make it easier.
“It’s not good for flattening the curve. It certainly defeats the purpose of the curfew in the first place,” he said.
He said people were not panic buying but rather stocking up. He pleaded with customers to not crowd the stores today.