Supermarkets have put things in place to help continue a smooth flow of goods and reduce the spread of the covid19virus.
Xtra Foods told Newsday, on Tuesday it was installing sinks for customers to wash their hands. The representatives said there is no more panic buying at their branches and the supermarket is focused on regular sanitisation.
Before the pandemic the supermarket already had special provisions for seniors and differently-abled people. These provisions will continue.
Xtra Foods said all hand sanitisers are sold out and the ones it has in storage are for workers. When these run out, its staff are to continue practising proper hygiene by washing their hands regularly.
JTA Supermarket also announced special provision for seniors, differently-able, doctors, nurses and members of the defence and protective services. Newsday was told there are cash registers reserved for front-line responders.
There is still panic buying at several of its locations and stock is running low. There are limited or no stock of hygiene products and customers are buying more canned food. The supermarket rep said their suppliers explained cleaning and hygiene stocks are limited because of the high demand.
As part of Massy Stores’ efforts to maintain social distance, seniors 60 and over and differently-abled people who require special care can shop from 7am-8 am from Mondays to Fridays.
There were shorter lines at pharmacies in Port of Spain on Tuesday.
Almost a week after the Government announced TT’s first covid19 case, president of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee reported a decrease in panic buying. He said the rush for sanitisers and cleaning agents does not resemble the levels of last week.
He told Newsday on Tuesday, “I want to assure the public supermarkets are not rationing.”
Diptee said the association had asked suppliers to distribute supplies evenly so that customers will not have to travel long distances.
He said supermarkets are still seeking clarity on pandemic leave as they are the “most labour-intensive in business.” If the situation worsens, he said, they will adjust.
He commended supermarkets for making provisions for the elderly so that they wouldn’t be discouraged from shopping there because of crowds.
“Some supermarkets have developed a WhatsApp grocery list to deliver items. Others have created special counters for them.”
Proper sanitisation measures for customers who may be at high risk for the virus, and ensuring all supermarkets are properly stocked, are priorities at the moment, he said.
“We are also working with suppliers to replenish stock. We hope stocks will reach to all supermarkets because we don’t want customers having to travel far. We want all suppliers to ensure every nook and cranny is covered with the distributions of all supplies that are needed.”