Those Barbadians who have already obtained adequate food supplies have been asked to “stand down” from grocery shopping now, to allow those in need to capitalize on the new arrangements coming on stream tomorrow.
The plea came from acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, as she addressed the nation today on the new arrangements put in place to ensure all Barbadians, particularly the most vulnerable, receive food supplies during the 24-hour curfew.
“We are appealing to those households and to all Barbadians that have already purchased adequate supplies to stand down from grocery shopping at this time, to allow others who may not have had the resources or the opportunity to stock up, to acquire their essential needs,” she stated.
Ms. Bradshaw disclosed that neighbourhood minimarts would now be permitted to open their doors to facilitate specific orders or pre-packaged groceries, like those being offered by the large supermarkets. However, in all instances, she stressed, strict adherence to physical distancing rules must be maintained.
She pointed out that further exemptions for minimarts would be processed by the Prime Minister’s Office on a case by case basis.
She said distributors had committed to ensuring that village shops were kept restocked, so Barbadians who relied on them would have constant access to what they needed.
Government and its partners, Ms. Bradshaw said, recognized that the new walk-up approach would not necessarily facilitate the personal taste, brand choices, or even the shopping volumes to which individuals or households might have become accustomed.
“However, we hope that you will appreciate that the primary mission here is to ensure everyone has an adequate supply of what they need, while keeping the country safe by containing the spread of COVID-19.
“There is no perfect formula for confronting the challenges that this pandemic has presented. We will all have, as a nation, to adjust our behaviour, our policies, practices and the regulations as the situation unfolds. I remind you of the reason for these very unusual restrictions and it has to do with the emergence, prevalence and presence of COVID-19 on our doorsteps,” she stated.
The acting Prime Minister appealed to residents to work with Government; follow the rules and advice given; and exhibit the discipline and kindness for which Barbadians have become known.
“We will do our very best to minimize the restrictions as much and as soon as possible, under the guidance of our public health officers in the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Meet us half-way and let us do this together,” she urged.
Ms. Bradshaw thanked Barbadians for their patience, understanding and compliance during this period of restricted movement, emphasizing that decisions taken were for the greater public health good of all.