NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A local bottled water manufacturer said yesterday it was doing the best it could to keep up with consumer demand, as the mandatory daily curfew had effectively cut its operation time by 25 percent.
During a national address at the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) headquarters, Minnis announced the extension of the nationwide curfew to 10pm.
Isaias is now projected to become a hurricane by today.
Food stores, water depots, pharmacies and gas stations will also be permitted to open on Saturday until 8pm if weather permits.
Yesterday, Geoffrey Knowles, managing director of Aquapure, said: “It’s really causing us some problems. We’re losing four hours of production time a day. People are getting upset and carrying on but we only could do so much.”
Knowles noted yesterday that the company has seen an influx of customers looking to stock up on bottled water ahead of the storm.
“Obviously no one has forgotten Dorian. People aren’t taking any chances. That coupled with this lockdown weekend has made things extremely busy. It’s testing us but we are doing all we can,” he said.
“We know what we can do in a certain amount of hours. Those hours have been shortened as they have been with the lockdowns and curfews. This all started just before Easter and it really hasn’t stopped. I can’t see it stopping. I think we are going into these curfews and lockdowns until next year.
“Until people take this thing seriously and wear the protective equipment and practice social distancing we will have problems.”
Knowles noted that operational restrictions have resulted in increased demand on staff.
“It’s increased the load on our staff,” he said.
“We have been trying to get extra shifts in. Although we have cut down on our hours of operation we haven’t cut down on salaries paying what we would pay for an eight hour day for a six hour day. I can’t short change the staff and then we are having to bring on more staff to make up for the lost time.
“It’s trying times but I think the staff realize what we are trying to do and they are doing quite well on the production side.”
He added: “July is always a very busy month for us. We’re up a bit this year. We are not able to produce what we can sell. We can only fill so many bottles in an hour and we’re working four hours less. We normally work until 10pm and we’re now working until six.
“That is significant when you have a 16 hour day and you cut 25 percent of the operation time.”