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Managing director of Allied Home Centre Simon Alexander announces the closure of his store in San Fernando.

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More retail stores across the country are closing as the COVID-19 mortality and infection rate continues to climb.

In South Trinidad, several stores, including Dansteel Limited, Hosein’s Group of Companies and Allied Home Centre, announced the closure of their stores until May 23.

Managing mirector of Allied Home Centre Simon Alexander said all 60 of his workers will be paid their full salary during the closure. Before the lockdown, Alexander said some customers were refusing to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

“There are people who give a lot of headaches to wash their hands. Some people insist they do not have to wash their hands because they have hand sanitiser in their pockets which they have already used. There were some people we had to turn away,” Alexander revealed.

He said closing down his 100,000 square feet store will result in a loss of revenue but keeping his customers, workers and their families safe was the best option.

“We are seeing and hearing the high numbers, which could be equivalent to one person per hour dying. It is a serious situation and to avoid this kind of deaths, we must take it seriously,” Alexander said.

He said sinks, a backup water supply, automatic soap dispensers and wash stations were set up in the store at the start of the pandemic.

“We also erected signs and plexiglass blinds near service desks, cashiers and the industrial tools centre,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bhagwansingh’s and Dansteel Ltd also announced the closure of their stores from today to May 23, 2021.

“The health and safety of our loyal customers and the wellbeing of our staff remains a top priority for us at Bhagwansingh’s and Dansteel,” company officials said in a release, noting the companies had been closely monitoring the increase in cases across the country.

Also closed was the Hosein’s Group of Companies, which comprises Tazmool Hosein and Sons, Better Value Limited, Hosein’s Lights Tiles and Bath, The Specialist Hardware and Brushrite Plastic Industries Limited.

Company spokesperson Brent Hosein said the decision to close was based on the spike in infections and deaths.

“We are concerned about the deaths. The number is sobering and we decided to close for the sake of employees and customers as well as our safety,” Hosein said.

He added, “Finances come long after people’s lives. There are a lot of cases reported in the Princes Town, Gasparillo and Rio Claro areas where our companies are located. This why we decided to close,” he said.

Hosein said about 50 employees would be affected.