High Street business owners, vendors on restrictions: 'We look for that!'

High Street, San Fernando. File photo by Marvin Hamilton
High Street, San Fernando. File photo by Marvin Hamilton

BUSINESS owners and vendors at High Street, San Fernando, said people should not blame the Prime Minister for reintroducing stricter restrictions but rather, blame themselves for being indisciplined over the past month. Despite being distraught, many of them collectively said, "We look for that."

On Monday afternoon, at Dr Rowley's highly-anticipated press conference, he announced the closure of all non-essential retail services and all food services until May 23.

Minutes after this announcement, Newsday walked along High Street to get people's views. At most of the businesses, workers were still tuned in to the press conference as it had reached the question and answer segment.

Usha Patel of D&G Jewellery Store said it is better to be safe than sorry, so she found the restrictions reasonable. She said people's lives are more important than jewellery.

"It's only when it happen to one of your own family members or your children then people would say 'I wish he did lock down.'"

She said she and her workers were watching the press conference since it began and they were expecting stricter restrictions.

Some workers at R&J Cell Tech said if the public did not go rushing to food carts and trucks over the weekend, Rowley may not have made such major changes. They recalled seeing photos of long lines there with little to no physical distancing.

One said, "People does behave like they don't know what a stove is."

They said business has been generally slow but it was "okay" on Monday.

Another retail worker, from 21 Again clothing store, said she expected it because "People jacka-- the scene.

"I just wish it had closed after Mother's Day (Sunday) so we could get a little more sales but people really have not been listening."

Many of the stores along High Street had signs saying there were ongoing Mother's Day sales.

And with fewer people needing to leave their homes, one taxi driver told Newsday it's going to take even longer for their vehicles to fill. He said even now, sometimes it took around 30 minutes to get three passengers so he cannot imagine what it is going to be like from Tuesday.

Two other vendors who were a bit more hopeful said they were trusting in God to help them through the difficult time. Both being street vendors, they said their stalls are their only sources of income.

A fruit vendor at Library Corner was almost inconsolable as she did not know what she was going to do with the dozens of fruit she had remaining.

She said she is not blaming Rowley at all as "People had so many chances to do the right thing.

"I have three children to take care of and this is my only job. I can't sell out all these fruits by tonight."

One worker at a fabric store said it was really the street vendors she worried about since, "Even though here is closing, I'm still getting a salary. But what about these people who are selling at the side of the road who depend on daily income? What about them?

"The Prime Minister gave us some freedom and we abused it. We look for that."

Two other vendors who sell shoes and jewellery told Newsday "Lockdowns won't help anything. It will keep having spikes if we don't find the true source of all these new cases."


"High Street business owners, vendors on restrictions: ‘We look for that!’"

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