Citizens heeded the call of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Saturday to refrain from panic buying or hoarding groceries, making a run for gasoline or drugs and medicine after he announced that a State of Emergency will be in effect from midnight Saturday.
Even the large country USA is not immune from panic buying or hoarding. After the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline On May 7, fear of a gas shortage caused many Alabamians to hoard gas, some even using plastic bags as makeshift gasoline containers.
The Guardian Media teams went out around 4 pm at various supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores to gauge citizens’ reactions.
Activity in downtown Port-of-Spain was concentrated along the Brian Lara Promenade mainly between Charlotte Street with its row of supermarkets, drug stores and bakeries and Prince Street, but not crowd level.
PriceSmart, at Invaders Bay off Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port-of-Spain, was subdued, no press of crowds.
There was a short line outside Massy Stores, Westmoorings, however it was manageable, well-organised and flowed efficiently with the staff’s guidance.
Jumbo Foods, Barataria, Tru Valu, San Juan, and Food Basket, Mt Hope were also quiet.
St Christopher’s Service Station on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, NP Quik Shoppe/Service Station, Richmond Street had no overflowing vehicles.
SuperPharm at Guardian Drive, Westmoorings, had a trickle of customers.
Several shoppers at Massy Stores, Westmoorings spoke to Guardian Media.
Deinisha Baptiste, Diego Martin:
My shopping today was planned, it wasn’t based on anything the Prime Minister would have said. I would be in agreement with his statement. I don’t think tthere’s any need for people to panic buy.
The Government seems to be doing all that it can, it’s just for the citizenry to follow the guidelines that the Government would have put in place.
Michelle, San Fernando:
I agree people should not be panic buying at this time, they should make more use of curbside and delivery services. I know that groceries are making significant investments in that area and everybody is working together to ensure protocols are followed, but there’s only so much we can do when there a flood of people coming for groceries.
The investments made by the public and private sectors in moving services online is a wonderful move. Understanding the why behind hoarding and panic buying is key.
Francisco Delph, Maraval:
We’re just out to get our regular monthly groceries. Shopping in PriceSmart wasn’t too busy also. I always have an extra tank of LPG gas at home and my car’s fuel level never goes below the three-quarter mark.
Andrea, Diego Martin:
I just came out for a few items, not to panic buy. I agree with the Prime Minister. I believe what he’s doing in trying not to make the COVID-19 situation get worse as well as the SOE.