Government has given plastic bag manufacturers the green light to supply those items to supermarkets and other entities during this period, as efforts continue to protect citizens from COVID-19.
This disclosure came today from acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, after she and the Minister of Labour, Colin Jordan, toured several supermarkets, a bank and hardware store to ascertain how the new arrangement for alphabetical shopping, banking and visits to the hardware stores was working across the country. This new system was implemented today, and will continue until May 3.
After the near two-hour tour, which ended at Popular Supermarket at Kendall Hill, Christ Church, Ms. Bradshaw said some supermarket owners had expressed concerns that several persons were taking shopping bags, which were not necessarily in the cleanest of conditions to have their groceries packed in.
“As a consequence, there’s a feeling that obviously we’re putting at risk a number of the supermarket packers, who … have given of their time to come out to be able to ensure that Barbadians have groceries.
“So, we’ve taken the decision to ensure that the plastic bag operators and manufacturers in the country are given the opportunity, during this period, to be able to supply the supermarkets and the other entities that are open, with plastic bags …. We believe that the risk to the shopper, the supermarket packer or the persons in the various entities will be greatly reduced by us being able to use plastic bags,” she asserted.
The acting Prime Minister reported that the new system was working well for the most part, with Barbadians adhering to the physical distancing guidelines and many wearing masks.
“We are asking people to just … make their list before they leave home … so that the time you spend in the supermarkets is reduced. We are asking as well, that you adhere to the alphabetical system. It has been put in place and I think it is working considerably well across most of the entities. You know, there will always be people who will try to breach the system, but we have asked and I think we have seen people are willing to adhere to the system,” she stated.
She commended the management of the supermarkets, banks and hardware stores, saying they were employing new methods to protect staff and customers.
“We are asking everyone to really change a behaviour; change the way in which they were traditionally doing things and obviously practising this type of behaviour, and clearly, they are embracing the changes that are necessary in this type of environment,” she said.
Ms. Bradshaw thanked those Barbadians who were complying with the regulations and encouraged them to continue adhering to the messages, designed to contain the virus.
In addition, she lauded frontline workers, including supermarket and hardware store workers, whom she said willingly came out to work to ensure fellow citizens’ needs were met.
“I don’t think people understand fully…, the supermarket workers have been going in and packing the shelves; they have been working above the call of duty. They themselves have put themselves at risk in order to be able to ensure that the average Barbadian is able to access food and we do owe them a tremendous debt, in terms of being able to get us through this period,” she suggested.
She added that some supermarkets had even discounted the cost of fruits and vegetables to ensure customers could purchase them, as it was important for people to boost their immune system at this time.
Ms. Bradshaw encouraged those Barbadians who did not have ATM cards to apply for them when possible, as they would have access to the machines rather than having to go into the bank.