The traditional buying of hot cross buns in Trinidad and Tobago on Holy Thursday, even at times to the point of mania, was drastically slowed down according to bakeries across the country.
They told Guardian Media, the decreased patronage by customers was expected with the precautionary measures this country has taken to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some said they even cut their production of the well-sort-after bred-based item, in some instances by 50 per cent.
VG’s bakery at Railway Road Arima said it did not cater too much hot cross buns, as it anticipated, the sales might be slower than usual. It said where its production annually is in the thousands, this year they only produced 2,000 buns.
“We don’t even have enough. I don’t think it would last out for the day,” the manager said.
The popular St Mary’s Bakery at Eastern Main Road and Sellier Street, Curepe confirmed there has been a decline in the patronage of its customers buying hot cross buns. The manager said, while it was not doing too badly, they have not seen as many customers as per usual.
In the Southland, Puff and Stuff Bakery at Circular Road, San Fernando, said sales on hot cross buns had been fluctuating. It said the normal Holy Thursday rush was ‘of course’ not the same.
Director Gregory Laing said the sales on the cross buns at his bakery were around 60 per cent. He said although people may see a lot of lines outside the bakery, those lines could be deceiving. He said whereas the norm would be to serve 15 persons at a time, only four persons were allowed at once to maintain social distancing.
“Normally I would do 12,000 buns on a day like this and I only did 6,000,” said Laing.
He said the makeup would be, those same customers would purchase other bakery items, such as breads and sweetbreads to stock up for the long weekend.
He also noted with the time frame government implemented—9-6 pm for such essential services to conduct business, they have also lost five hours of sales, his bakery would normally open from 6 am and close around 8 pm.
Jodelle’s Baking Services Ltd at Freeling Street, Tunapuna, said it decided to not produce any cross buns this year.
At Gafoor’s Bakery Ltd at El Socorro Road, San Juan, its cashier told Guardian Media in regards to sales of hot cross buns, “It is a little decline. Normally it would be a lot more people.”
Bread Basket in St Ann’s Port-of-Spain, however, said it did not see much of a difference in purchasing behaviour when it came to the customers getting their fill on hot cross bun buying.
The bakery manager said, “We are getting patronage, we are still seeing the regular traffic in customers for hot cross buns, we are still making buns.”
The manager also noted it opened its doors since 6 am yesterday and customers came as usual to buy their buns.
Chain bakery Linda’s said though there was a good turn out, there was a drop back to what it normally experiences on a Holy Thursday. The manger at its Western main Road, St James Branch, said customers were calling around to the various branches to find out about hot cross buns and from the feedback, its branches have all seen the drop back
Tobago Baking Service Ltd at Old Government Farm Road Shaw Park, Tobago, also felt the pinch of a decline in customers reaching its establishment for Holy Thursday cross buns.
Its director told Guardian Media because of the situation, it decided to do a drastic cut back on the production of its annual hot cross buns. She said the decision was taken because they did not want to become overwhelmed with customers, in light of precautionary measures to curb the COVID-19 spread.
She said her bakery would usually do large orders for banks and churches among other organisations but it decided to do a 50 per cent scale back in its response to the pandemic.