Police have committed to working closely with the Supermarket Association of TT (SATT) to have frequent patrols at supermarkets to prevent and reduce crowding.
ACP Wendell Williams, a representative on the multi-sectoral committee to treat with covid19, met with the association on Wednesday to discuss ways the police can help the association deal with overcrowding, especially during month-end.
On Tuesday, the association asked its members to encourage their customers to allow only one person per family to shop.
SATT president Rajiv Diptee told Newsday on Wednesday, the association's move to implement a one-person-per -family quota for shoppers, especially at month-end, was not an order but an appeal.
“This is for the safety of our customers at a time when we are trying to control the volume of foot traffic through the supermarket, and also at a time where the caseload for covid19 is higher than ever.”
After a meeting with police on monitoring and managing, and preventing large crowds in and around supermarkets, Diptee told Newsday most members have signalled their intention to jump on board with the idea.
Xtra Foods and Tru Value are two of the major supermarkets which have asked their customers via social media to allow only one person per family to shop. Attempts to reach Massy Stores and Pricesmart were unsuccessful.
But not everyone was sold on the idea, as Pennywise CEO Dalvi Paladee thinks this may be counterproductive.
“We feel it would be very difficult to get people to leave somebody. It might be mothers who are going to shop and they may have someone with them. While we understand what they are trying to do, we don’t know if it will work or not.”
He said Pennywise has asked its managers to pay attention to the number of people in the stores at any one time.
“Every store’s space is different, so we don’t have a fixed limit of how many customers are allowed in a store. What we do is have all our cashiers ready and have them working, because as fast as we can get them (customers) out, the better for everybody.”
Paladee said regular sanitisation has become the norm and there is enforcement of masks being worn properly and physical distancing among staff and customers.
“We realised that by protecting our workers, our customers are automatically protected.”