by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Restocking on same day allotted for shopping counterproductive
- New strategy to be put in place for next shopping day, Saturday, 11 April
Allowing the restocking of supermarkets and shops on the same day allotted for shopping has proven counterproductive in minimising the congregation of people in public spaces to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin, addressed this observation during the live broadcast of the press conference on Monday held by Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, and the Covid-19 Response Committee.
The next shopping day allotted for the public will be on Saturday, 11 April 2020, and Commissioner Martin noted that plans for the restocking of supermarkets and shops must be revisited and a new strategy put in place. “We need to make sure that the shops are well stocked before shopping days, so going forward we will revisit that as well. So, we definitely will look at revisiting how we do the time for the supplies to come out so that when we do shopping days, all the shops and supermarkets and mini-marts should be properly stocked and the crisis of waiting for supplies to come up would be a thing of the past.”
Measures will also be put in place to allow for workers in the supply chain to refuel their vehicles. “That new strategy will also take on board making sure that the workers, as well as the supply trucks, are fuelled up and be able to operate seamlessly,” Martin said.
Considerations are being made to revisit strategy for the next shopping day with regard to whom will be allowed to refuel and shop, or whether shopping and refuelling will occur on the same day. Commissioner Martin made the point that having shoppers from St David converge with shoppers in St George created a number of challenges, and increased congestion.
Shoppers lined up in hundreds at both locations of Foodland, in the town of St George and on Kirani James boulevard, with some waiting over 10 hours in the sun for the chance to restock their homes.
Martin stated this too posed a significant challenge for law enforcement. “There was a number of factors we believe contributed to the congestion we witnessed. We experimented for the first time allowing [people] from the parish of St David to come to St George and that was a conscious decision bearing in mind that there are no large supermarkets in St David to provide adequate support to the needs of the people. So, the first day had some challenges because the measures we put in place were inadequate to handle the volume from that increase.”
To address the situation, Martin provided a solution that can mitigate the congestion on days allotted for shopping. “The significant factor contributing to the congestion is having all the activities on the same day. We need to break that up and have refuelling, supplying and shopping days independent. So, we will look at that to see how best we can redistribute the activities across the period of time that will allow us to not compromise the overarching intention of mitigating transmission.”
The Acting Commissioner thanks the public for their patience and tolerance during this period and reassures that the planning committee is working hard to ensure public safety.
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