Mounting Opposition to Automarts and Supermarkets Closed on Sundays

There has been increasing chatter about the decision by government to continue with a cease to open order on Sundays affecting supermarkets and automarts. The graphs show the country has done a good job keeping COVID 19 infections down and as at 28th May 2021 the number of individuals vaccinated was reported as 77, 823 (1st dose) and 60, 139 (2nd dose).

The blogmaster is aware as a tiny island we are navigating one of the most challenging periods in our history. The saying goes that “uneasy upon the head who wears the crown” seems appropriate. Some people are concerned the virus is in the community and from everyday observation all citizens are not as diligent with mask wearing and observing COVID 19 health protocols. A rest day to pause and slow the country down may not be a bad idea. On the other hand the inability of these businesses to earn on Sundays has serious financial implications for sustainability. There is therefore a delicate balance to be maintained. All agree another shutdown would be devastating to a fragile economy.

The best response about how to proceed comes a quarter many consider has been the voice of reason in the COVID 19 din. It was the voice that warned the country government’s aggressive quarantine policy in the early days of COVID 19 was not following the science and it proved correct. It seems logical we should continue to listen to that voice.

The following is a reprint of an article to support government’s cautious directive to address how economic activity should be managed on Sundays in Barbados. Especially as it pertains to automarts and supermarkets.

Docs support Sunday restriction

Randy BennettArticle by
Randy Bennett

Published on
May 21, 2021

The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) is in full agreement with Government to keep automarts and supermarkets closed on Sundays.

BAMP president Dr Lynda Williams has maintained the need for Barbadians to be cautious as health authorities continue to try to fully vaccinate a larger percentage of the population.

Her comments have come as supermarket and automart owners continue to lobby Government to allow them to open their establishments on Sundays, with some warning that job layoffs could be on the horizon if they are not allowed to open fully.

Earlier this week president of the Petroleum Dealers Association of Barbados (PDAB) Aldo Ho-Kong-King contended that businesses were losing thousands of dollars by being forced to remain closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

Under the current COVID-19 directives, supermarkets are only allowed to open from Monday to Saturday. Gas stations can open only to sell petrol or car-related products on Sundays.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Dr Williams said she supported Attorney General Dale Marshall’s decision to keep Sunday off limits to most commercial activity.

She said while Barbados was doing relatively well in the fight against COVID-19, she cautioned that the situation could change very quickly.

“I will admit that from a business perspective it seems to be a bit inconsistent because they would say if other businesses are operating then why not me? But from a health perspective I can see that the less places you have for gatherings, that still matters overall.

“The reality is that we have to be careful. We are not vaccinated with both doses a significant enough part of the population that we can say that we are even approaching the kind of percentages that we would want to see vaccinated before being very relaxed. Yes people are going forward and getting their second doses but I think patience will be rewarded,” Dr Williams pointed out.

“Pay attention to what’s happening in Trinidad, pay attention to our neighbours, pay attention to what’s happening in other countries. What I want people to pay attention to is how quickly health systems can be overrun by COVID. People say it’s only five per cent of people who get COVID that need incubation…but even that is still a great burden on health systems and things like the need for oxygen, the need for ventilators, the need for beds and the need for manpower. Those are things that are very real to us, so anything that we do we need to go cautiously.”

Dr Williams also pointed to the fact that Barbados was gearing up to welcome an increased number of visitors to the island.

She said this meant the possibility of more variants being detected.

53 thoughts on “Mounting Opposition to Automarts and Supermarkets Closed on Sundays

  1. Hard to believe that a country with high unemployment and low wages that govt long arm would stretch once again so close to depleting any financial help towards the bajan household
    Most importantly at this worsening of the economy and when employers are threatening to cut workers hours hard to believe that govt would step into that cesspool of divisive action and give employers another helping hand in cutting employers hours
    Don’t see what purpose it serves in using COVID as a weapon to close the stores on Sunday
    Never new that COVID had set periods to infect people
    There are enough guidelines and sufficient information at hand towards awareness
    The beaches are open why not Supermarkets on Sunday
    How about the tourist sector whose dollar appreciation at a time when business is slow should be most welcomed
    As a matter of fact all stores should be open on Sunday
    Instead of moving backward govt ought to be pushing the country forward along the same track keeping pace with the outside world where the economy matters

    • What is amazing is you agreed with the doctors when they criticized government policy earlier regarding quarantine and allowing people in. It suits you today to spout from the other side of your mouth.

  2. David as always u see what u want to see and hear want you want to hear
    This govt stubbornly left the borders open in the worse period of the Pandemic and did not see a problem for closing when there were many reasons
    How is it now that other countries have opened their economies and this govt is moving forward to increase its tourism numbers
    Also when vaccines have been helpful in lowering deaths and contamination
    Barbados unemployment needs all the help it can
    Sunday opening of supermarkets becomes a problem
    Explain to me where is the economic logic or the health logic involved that gives govt a reason or purpose for closing the supermarkets on Sunday

  3. DavidMay 30, 2021 8:32 AM

    By your logic the country should be closed today

    This govt continues to exhibit signs of incompetence deal with that
    Can’t get nothing right everything boils down to controversies
    A country moving forward instead of backwards
    Leave it to me the whole place would be open on Sunday
    A policy founded on recovering loss finances during lockdown for all business

    • You may spout all the froth you want, the point to consider is Barbados has managed the virus satisfactorily. Cannot say the same for what is happening in your neck of the woods.

  4. @David, a query to you… unrelated:

    Can you point me to the blog video of Pastor Dr Douglin presenting his practices for homeopathic health remedies?

    That was here several months back… but I couldn’t tap a search that got my desired result.

    Much thanks.

  5. DavidMay 30, 2021 8:46 AM

    You may spout all the froth you want, the point to consider is Barbados has managed the virus satisfactorily. Cannot say the same for what is happening in your neck of the woods.
    Based on your comment
    I therefore asked what fear does govt have as evidence that opening the supermarkets on. Sunday would be a problem
    Bearing in mind as u said that govt has managed the virus in a satisfactory manner

    Xxxxxcc be that as it may do u understand the financial impact to an economy and the simple financial saying that every penny counts
    Also Barbados govt cannot sit back on its Covid performance to keep the economy hand tie to what it Might have achieved
    Also bearing in mind that countries that had bigger numbers have already opened their economies refusing to be guided by WHO and CDC and refusing absolutely to be driven by fear
    Barbados is not economically position to be driven by what I mentioned
    Barbados produces nothing
    It’s main source of income comes from tourism and the business community
    What economic sense does it makes having a policy that shuts down the business community
    A community that has a helping hand in lowering the unemployment levels
    A community whose increased income goes towards tax revenue and wages
    Btw including Sundays and holidays millions of dollars are being lost to the economy
    Think on those things

  6. It is such a blessing to return to the days of yore when Sunday was respected as “the Lord’s Day”..

    Such a gift after the previous days of confusion and base dog eat dog capitalism.

    A chance to reassess, relax and concentrate on higher thoughts..

    Give the shop assistants the chance to enjoy.

  7. I am not worried about our Honourable Government, but about our hysterical medical profession, which demands multiple coronatests and quarantine from fully vaccinated travellers.

    It would be best to turn Harrison Point into an internment camp at the end of the pandemic to permanently lock up said quacks.

  8. What is the special condition that exist on Sunday shopping that allows Covid to be more translatable than any other day of the week? Monday to Saturday is now declared as reasonably safe for shoppers to com mingle, provided safety protocols are adhered to. Why is it necessary to close on Sunday if the protocols are enforced? It would be beneficial toward a better understanding if the BMA would clarify the thinking in this area.

  9. @ Fear Play

    I would like to hear it too as the UK had the opposite approach. Their argument why the supermarkets should not be restricted in anyway, was that this would lead to higher congestion within the reduced opening hours and that in fact to ease congestion the opposite should occur. So like here on Saturdays and Mondays the supermarkets busy as hell now because we feel Sunday should be closed. The approach actually flies in the face of common logic.

    It is a proven fact that anytime you interfere with the free flow of anything it creates a problem before and after the blockage. That is true for everything from the flow of water to the flow of people. In other words logic dictates that extended hours equals reduced congestion. Cud dear em is common sense at this stage of the virus. You say you got it control now with low rates of new cases, so how reducing the congestion on Saturday and Monday could make things worst? If anything it should do the opposite and reduce the risk of greater exposure over the weekend period.

    I mean as a humble shopkeeper let me brek it down for you simply. Imagine if my shop was the only one up here in the bush. My Saturday hours say was always 8 am to 8 pm, but I wake up one morning and decide ” wunna see me from next Saturday I opening 10am to 2 pm from now on.” You could imagine with the same amount of Saturday shoppers now trying to shop in 4 hours instead of 12 the congestion my 1 door shop would be in?

  10. I recall the initial reason given for closing on Sundays was to give the COVID Monitoring Unit staff a rest day.

    It matters not whether they allow them to open or not, COVID will return as long as we continue blindly following the WHO recommendations and refuse to embrace effective early treatment protocols like Ivermectin that have been backed by robust studies; our numbers will increase again sooner or later and the panic will start again.

    All these doctors commenting and writing letters advocating for shutdowns, lockdowns, masks and all sorts of nonsense should go and read all the published robust papers and advocate for early treatment protocols, stop incarcerating people like catching COVID is a crime.

    They would change their tune very fast if these doctors were prohibited from practicing on Sundays and told to refer all patients to the polyclinics and QEH for treatment on Sundays.

  11. We customers don’t complain, we grumble quietly to ourselves. That is why we stand in line at the bank for over an hour to conduct a five minute transaction. That is why we call the bank or FLOW and hold for twenty minutes before receiving service. We don’t complain, we grumbled.

  12. @David May 30, 2021 1:03 PM

    I am one customer who was and still am blue vex. Sunday is always the best day to go supermarket shopping. Both the supermarket and roads are very light so shopping is always extremely comfortable.

    These people following their own cherry picked science, not real science.

    • @CA and Fearplay

      Sunday is the best day for many especially people who work on Saturdays, even the SDAs.



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  14. Pop down breakneck govt can’t even use an opportunity that lends itself to pulling the economic weight of Barbados makes an ungodly decisions to shut out economic progress on Sundays
    Mind boggling

  15. @ David

    Well it’s a bit of both. Customers that work the week and Saturday are saying that Sunday was so convenient for them as it meant they didn’t have to rush with the crowd to get in the supermarket Saturday after work.

    The business are also crying badly too as business is way down for them. Remember Sunday was a good day for the gas station outlets as people popped into buy the odd thing they didn’t get in the week, pick up a paper etc. Truth is the economy can not bear much more of this Sunday closing and there is no logical reason to continue with it as I explained in an earlier post. We need to let these places open as they need the business to keep their doors open. Yes it is at that stage now, with many smaller businesses unsure of if they will see December.

    If you doubt this speak to the head of the small business association or the chamber of commerce. Truth is 15 months of serous downturn is now coming home to roost and when businesses say they will have to layoff if this Sunday closure continues, they are not making an idle threat believe me when I say this.

  16. @ David

    Also forgot to mention many businesses also see a larger percentage of the older shopper on Sundays than during the week. These are the Barp crowd for example who like Sunday so as to escape the traffic on the roads in the week and the congestion of places like Warrens. These are also the ones a caring government should not want to force into the crowd of Saturday shopping either, as they are the ones most susceptible to the virus in terms of mortality.

    How ever you look at it the closure makes absolutely no sense and is being practiced nowhere else in the developed world now with infection rates as low as ours.

  17. @ David

    Their perspective does not hold up to scrutiny for the same reasons I listed. Anytime you are forcing increased crowding on a day before or after a closed day you are clearly increasing the risk of contraction based on exposed numbers. That is basic common sense.

    The problem with doctors is they have no concept of retail and traffic flow. This is why the USA, UK and other countries never restricted access to supermarkets. All studies showed them that all this did was increase crowding in the reduced hours. If you are dealing with a contagious virus this is the last thing you should want I would of thought. The goal should be the opposite by making the crowds thinner by extending the retail hours.

    For the record the same applies to vaccinations. Instead of crowding persons together by the hundreds in a few locations the opposite should happen. But that is only common sense and we know that don’t seem to enter the decision making process.

  18. @John A May 30, 2021 3:13 PM

    You are wasting your time trying to follow why BAMP and government holds this non common sense position.

    Both don’t have any common sense. They act as though the have all the solutions, refuse to admit when they are wrong and think they can get away with charging whatever they want because they made sure they have all the decision making power and to go against them risks breaking the law.

    One thing this COVID has shown is the complete disconnect and lack in understanding how the thinks-money-grows-on-trees class (lawyers/doctors/politicians) and the rest of us live our lives from day-to-day.

  19. @ Critical

    I am genuinely starting to see that for myself now. From the vaccination approach to this Sunday thing all confirms what you are saying. Total disconnect with reality and logic.

  20. Lockdown in Suriname
    PARAMARIBO – The government of Suriname has announced a total lockdown of the country for just over two weeks in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
    The announcement was made by president Chandrikapersad Santokhi, who said that his administration has promulgated Code Purple, the worst risk level for the pandemic, for the entire country, and Code Black for the situation in hospitals.
    The total lockdown has been issued for the next two and a half weeks, starting today, until June 18.
    The head of state, who painted a grim picture of the situation, said that there was a shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and there was a shortage of medical staff and health workers.
    Since March last year, when COVID-19 first emerged in Suriname, 282 people have died of the disease and this month has been the deadliest since the pandemic broke out – with 78 deaths.
    From today, with the exception of essential services, all government offices will be closed and citizens are only allowed to leave home for emergencies, such as for medical reasons.
    Santokhi said those who violate the measures risk stiff fines and additional penalties.
    The names of stores and shops that do not adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and measures will be made public and they will be fined and closed for an extended period of time.
    Ten people in store
    During the lockdown, only supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, pharmacies and hardware stores are allowed to open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, only people 18 or older will be allowed in the
    store, with no more than ten people at a time.
    Meanwhile, Minister of Health Amar Ramadhin said data showed that a mutated variant of the coronavirus from neighbouring Brazil was now also causing many young people to become infected and die.
    On Saturday, for the third consecutive day, Suriname registered seven deaths and more than 200 new infections of the lung virus that is currently holding the world in a deadly grip.
    Santokhi also noted that the records showed that all people who have recently died of COVID-19 had not been vaccinated and he urged citizens to be vaccinated.
    Currently, just over 13 000 of the roughly 600 000 population are fully vaccinated. (CMC)

  21. Critical Analyzer May 30, 2021 1:03 PM
    “I recall the initial reason given for closing on Sundays was to give the COVID Monitoring Unit staff a rest day.”

    I’m thinking the rationale for choosing Sunday IN THE FIRST PLACE was that it was always that day of least economic activity and where most leisure activity occurs

    John2May 30, 2021 8:10 PM

    “Is it only the gas stations and supermarkets or is there still a curfew In effect on sundays?”

    Sunday is effectively a “lockdown” day for most non essential businesses with a curfew from 12AM – 5AM. Supermarkets are closed, Gas stations can open anytime outside the curfew hours for the sale of fuel, bottle gas, vehicle related products, top ups etc. The automarts are closed to the public.

    To make a long story short, I think Bajans are making heavy weather about Sunday being a “closed day” AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Mind you I do think that the current COVID-19 situation in Barbados can AT LEAST allow for half day opening on Sundays for ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ONLY. I do understand the argument that most businesses want to be open for as many days and as many hours as possible in the week.

    The truth is that since early April 2021, Barbados has effectively reopened for ECONOMIC ACTIVITY for 6 out of 7 days in the week. The 12AM – 5AM curfew from Thursday – Sunday are hours inside those to which the Shops Act prevent most businesses opening anyway. The reality though is that economic activity within those 6 days has not YET been restored to pre pandemic levels. Most have not yet returned to pre pandemic opening hours. To this end it weakens the necessity to “reopen” Sundays. NORMALLY, Sunday (and Bank Holidays) are usually days that most businesses are either totally closed or open with reduced hours . It translates to being an “off day” for most employees. More people being off can translate to people travelling around for leisure purposes especially when there is a night time curfew for 4 out of 7 days in a week. So some of these “groans” are from people who want to do personal business and participate in leisure activity outside their home on these “off days”

    The current Directives can be seen to allow for as much economic activity (and temporary, necessary human interaction) and reduce the prolonged, unnecessary leisure activity that will provide perfect conditions for super spreader events. Even though the global pandemic situation is improving it is still raging. Govt must maintain the message that the pandemic is not over and that that directives must still be maintained IDEALLY until herd immunity is reached or until our main tourism source markets have beaten down their COVID-19 situation. Govt will be sensitive and do not want under any circumstance to return to a Feb 2021 type lockdown. Once tourists return, tourism related business would increase helping create more economic activity between Monday and Saturday. This would most likely strengthen the argument to “reopen” Sundays.

    • Many of the supermarkets and gas stations operating on a reduced staff roster because sales have not reached pre covid level.

  22. @David

    For those that comment with no actual knowledge of where most companies sales are, let me say many are so far from pre covid levels it isn’t funny. None of these entities expect that opening Sunday will get them back anywhere near pre covid levels either. What they are saying is that they are so far down on sales that without Sunday they may have to lay off people.

    Without calling names I can tell you for a fact that many businesses are actually down around 20% to 30% on pre covid trade. Those that depend on tourism like the charter boats etc are down more like 80%.

    It’s not about reaching pre covid levels, it’s about trying to generate enough to keep the staff employed. Further let me tell you that freights have increased substantially and are expected to continue doing so into the next quarter. Many businesses have passed on some of this increase but have also absorbed some so as to try and cushion the blow to the customer.

    Many that comment don’t have a dam clue about the elements at play in this economy right now that is evident.

    • @John A

      Understand your line of reasoning, the next questions whether sales on a Sunday will be enough to cover of operating costs?

  23. @ David

    Ask yourself one question if it didn’t you think the guys would be fighting to open? The whole object of the shop act was to make Sunday attractive to open from a Labour cost.

  24. DavidMay 31, 2021 3:22 PM
    @John A
    Understand your line of reasoning, the next questions whether sales on a Sunday will be enough to cover of operating costs?

    We also have to compare the STATED reason for Sunday being a “closed day” to the usual behavior of people and businesses on Sundays pre Covid. The expectation is that the Sunday “lockdown” would eventually be lifted because there is ZERO logical basis for it outside of that stated by government. My observation is that it is not doing as much economic damage in ITSELF when the other 6 days have be returned closer to normal in terms of opening hours. The Shops Act allows for most businesses to open from 7am – 11 pm.
    In terms of staffing, most businesses would have made decisions from the Feb lockdown with the expectation that the COVID-19 directives would have been relaxed. Over time these business would rehire more people AND/OR restore employees working times back to normal. Businesses that are normally closed on Sundays have little reason to complain. Those fighting to open are those that usually open on Sundays with reduced hours. What is happening is that economic activity is still “lagging” and not forcing Gov’t hand to overturn their reason to keep Sunday as a “closed” day.

  25. The same knucklehead decisions that govt took upon itself to let cruise ships docked for unlimited periods dropping their anchors on reefs that are valuable to protect the environment costing govt hundred of thousand of dollars runs parallel to policies which have reason for govt to make knuckles head decision to close supermarkets on Sunday when an financial analysis is done it would show the millions of dollars lost in tax revenue and wages because of govt decision to close shops on Sunday
    Presently the drop in Covid numbers should be a guide as to how govt make economic decisions for the country
    Not fear

  26. Angela Cox, you must forgive me. It is not by intention to stalk you, but you deposit these beautiful golden nuggets that I must mine and present to the group ..

    “Presently the drop in Covid numbers should be a guide as to how govt make economic decisions for the country
    Not fear”

  27. Closure of supermarkets on Sunday is tantamount to economic warfare on the economy by govt
    As i previuosly stated govt needs to come out of the dark ages and make a fast sprint to the top for meaningful change
    In reality during these dark days the economy needs all the can get
    Govt is fooling itself while twiddling its thumbs and baying at the moon
    The evidence world wide shows because of the vaccine along with medical better way of controlling the virus the numbers have dropped
    Countries world wide have.reopened
    The fear with which COVID brought is being diminished
    Yet with all this evidence a govt that kept the borders open during the worst of the pandemic now cowers in fear as the country numbers declines
    A fear which can affect the economic growth of a country with staggering negative effects

  28. America a country that was initially worse affected by the pandemic, is quickly regaining some sense of normalcy, as Barbados and other nations in the Caribbean continues to enforced restrictions at time when they should be slowly lifting these Covid restrictions because of the wide spread vaccination endeavour.
    Nevertheless, the Governor of my State, have lifted the wearing of mask in stores, outside, and all government establishments, but schools, hospitals, prisons and nursing homes are still under mask restrictions.

  29. The Governor of my State has implemented a four phrase approach to tackled this pandemic, in which he prioritized the private and governmental establishments to be reopened and those that are to remained closed, and he has moved back and forth during these phases based on the number of people infested and hospitalizations.
    In any event, I can honestly say that President Biden efforts to tackled this virus has been successful, despite the reluctance and procrastination of the minority population to get vaccinated, and for good reason because a lot Blacks have chosen to sitting it out, to see the affects of the vaccines, and this has proven counterproductive for a lot of them.

  30. Supermarkets, minimarts and village shops to open on Sundays – by Anesta Henry June 5, 2021
    Barbados today

    Barbadians will once again be able to do their shopping on Sundays as Government gave the green light for supermarkets, minimarts and village shops to be allowed to reopen on Sundays.

    Speaking during a COVID-19 press conference today, Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams also announced that auto marts will resume full service on Sundays, while spectatorless sports will be allowed to resume.

  31. Finally a foolish policy abandon by govt
    Numbers low and govt behaving like mice hiding from cat
    Without realizing that the economy was losing more than the supermarkets

  32. Applaud govt for opening the supermarkets on Sunday
    The pandemic had wielded enough economic power in slowing the economy down
    Now it is time to put the fear factor aside and place emphasis on moving the economy in the right direction
    Barbados can ill afford to close off any economic opportunity that can pull.barbados out of the economic doldrums
    A high priority must also be the unemployment levels which cannot be ignored
    Closing the supermarkets was an ill advised idea generated by fear without giving any conclusive reason based on scientific evidence that the. Sunday openings. would increase the spread of Covid
    Glad that common sense.took precedence and once again a breath of economic stimulus would be pumped into the economy
    Along with some households seeing more increase in take home pay

  33. Govt has been too long asleep on driving ways forward for economic stimulus of the country
    Closing supermarkets on Sunday was an economic blunder running parallel to other economic blunders govt have made in the past two years
    The funny of it all was govt allowing the Covid spread to enter the country by way of ports via people from hot spots and saw no absolute reason to close the ports when evidence was providing that tourist were big cause of concern for the spread
    Fast forward the spread numbers are down and govt rolls out a policy to further weaken the economy
    Heads ought to roll starting at the top

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