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Ramish and Leela Supermarket director of operations Yunus Ibrahim looks on as shoppers leave disappointed after being turned away from their Eastern Main Road, San Juan branch yesterday. The business was forced to close for COVID-19 sanitisation.

PETER CHRISTOPHER

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Several San Juan businesses were put on alert while some closed altogether yesterday, as the movements of COVID-19 patient 139 and her related contacts continued to be tracked by Ministry of Health throughout the community.

Residents of Aranguez expressed concern about the incident yesterday after noticing the closure of two groceries and other businesses in the area. One resident wrote to the media requesting further information after noticing the businesses closing their doors, reportedly for sanitisation.

Ramish & Leela Supermarket Limited director of operations Yunus Ibrahim confirmed their Eastern Main Road branch was closed on the request of the County Medical Officer of Health. He said up to that point none of his staff had been tested for the virus but they had submitted a full list of staff to the Ministry of Health.

“No one has shown a symptom, it is nothing like that. They have taken a list of all frontline staff to be able to do what they do best, which is contact tracing and so we await the outcome of the investigation,” Ibrahim said.

“I believe they are asking them to go to the St Joseph Health Centre and they will take it from there and they’ll advise us accordingly so we await what the Ministry has to say at their level of testing.”

He confirmed they would also be guided with regards to the reopening of the grocery.

“And so we await the outcome of the investigation, so what I can say is for now we are doing what we can and we will be listening and sanitising, the interior, and the upper floors and lower floors of the supermarket, for the comfort of the public as well before the close of today,” he said.

San Juan Business Association president Vivek Charran confirmed that some staff at other businesses were told to stay home today because of possible contact with someone who was positive for the virus. He said some businesses were told to conduct thorough sanitisation measures before reopening.

However, Charran said businesses in the area have adhered to the COVID prevention guidelines. He said despite the closures it appeared to be business as usual in terms of foot traffic but he was confident his members and customers have been social distancing in stores, washing their hands and sanitising to prevent possible transmission.

On Wednesday, First Citizens’ bank on the Eastern Main Road, San Juan, was also put on alert while two Pennywise outlets in Port-of-Spain were closed for sanitisation after the patient confirmed conducting business at both places. The two Pennywise branches reopened for business yesterday.