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
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.