A customer inspects a shovel for sale at the Aranguez Hardware yesterday.

While some hardware stores had a large turn out of customers seeking plumbing and electrical supplies yesterday, several others remained closed as they were unable to open on short notice.

Only hardware stores located in areas affected by floods over the weekend were permitted to open yesterday and today, according to a statement issued by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday morning.

It stated, “In response to the recent flooding which occurred in various parts of the country due to inclement weather, and the consequent damage to property, hardware stores in specific areas will be allowed to operate on a temporary basis.”

The hardware stores allowed to be open must be located within the municipalities of Siparia, Point Fortin, Sangre Grande, Tunapuna/Piarco and San Juan/Laventille.

The approved opening hours are between 8 am and 3 pm on both days. However, the Minister advised members of the public and hardware store operators to comply strictly with the public health guidelines and other legal requirements of the Public Health regulations.

“Additionally, shoppers are also asked to limit the time spent in these hardware stores by restricting their purchases to those essential items that are required to repair damage due to flooding.”

Several stores, however, remained closed as the proprietors found out about the temporary lift in the restrictions late and were unable to open.

Carol Jones who runs Point Fortin Hardware Ltd said they did not open any of their branches.

“It was very late when he found out so we just come to do clean up and thing today. So tomorrow please God we will open.”

However, in Tunapuna at Moosai Hardware they opened around 12.30 pm and before 3 pm already had almost 100 customers. Lochan Moosai said a lot of customers came for plumbing and electrical supplies.

“People get their pipe burst and they say water running for about a week now. And with that rain, we had about two sheets of galvanize selling.”

He said people were seeking out supplies to do minor repairs at their home. Due to the short notice, he was only able to call out just one worker.

Indira Jattan who operates H&I Hardware in Sangre Grande said she only saw the notice around lunchtime and opened at 1 pm. Although the customer flow was consistent, she said, “But, it is not like a mad rush. All who pass and see the place open that’s how they coming in. As the flood pass people coming in for cleaning supplies and hose, yard brooms and vinyl.”

At Aqucan Hardware & Construction situated at the Lady Young Road customers also bought mostly plumbing and electrical items. The owner said one customer needed materials to repair a leak on his roof. Before 3 pm he had more than 60 customers visiting his business place.

But, it was not very busy at K&C Hardware and Construction Ltd in Point Fortin. The company official who gave her name as Mrs Bachan said she sold several pairs of rain boots, as well as plumbing and electricity items. She believes today would be busier as more people would be aware specific stores would be open.

At Simar Enterprises Ltd in Siparia, owner Omar Anthony said the store was very busy. “Let’s put it like this the only time of the day it did not have anyone was at 3 pm.”

He said there were a lot of flood sales with people seeking water tanks, plumbing, galvanised sheets and other items.

The Prime Minister advised that all hardware stores would be closed during a media briefing on May 29.