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An Aranguez Hardware employee carries a sheet of board for a customer to a vehicle, yesterday.

Forced to use a tarpaulin as a substitute for a roof after strong winds damaged his home, Siparia resident Darryl Jones was among several customers making purchases at hardware stores yesterday.

Due to severe flooding over the weekend, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced Monday that only hardwares in areas within five flood-affected municipalities namely San Juan/Laventille, Piarco/Tunapuna, Sangre Grande, Point Fortin and Siparia were allowed to open.

While there was no mad rush yesterday, some hardwares saw a steady flow of customers. Jones who visited Simar Hardware in Siparia said he needed materials to repair his roof.

“I trying to source material to fix back a roof, my roof get blow off with the high winds.”

He said two of his bedrooms at his De Souza Street home got water-soaked and several items were damaged. Forced to use a tarpaulin to cover his roof, he said, “If they did not open back ah would ah eat meh supper.”

Another Siparia customer Deodath Kowlessor of La Brea Trace was also relieved that hardware stores were opened.

“Thank God the hardware open because right now the ply for the house blow away and we come here to get the ply.”

However, he felt that all the hardware stores should have been opened. “I find they should ah open up all the hardware for everyone to get a lil help out.”

Another customer Abigail Sirju said she purchased a latch for her closet because her father suffers from Dementia.

“I am really happy that they open the hardware because it is an emergency it might sound like if it is just a latch but it is important for the safety of my father.”

While business was slow at George’s Hardware in Palo Seco where there was widespread flooding, owner Anton George said customers were buying plumbing supplies to repair their damaged pipes and tall boots. However, Anisa Gafoor, an accountant at Selection Plumbing & Hardware Ltd in San Juan said the sudden closure of hardware stores has affected the business.

“With the government just coming and shutting down the hardwares not all hardwares have an overdraft so it tends to affect the company when we write cheques to pay suppliers and then we just get an alert Saturday for Saturday that we can’t open for a whole week.”

She said most suppliers were no longer giving credit facilities and were selling their items retail instead of wholesale.

“So if we were to buy the items to sell back we would have to increase the price to make a profit and most people are not working so you have to be compassionate and try to sell it without making a profit just to get buy at this point.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the closure of hardware stores more than a week ago in response to rising COVID-19 infections.