NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Supermarkets will be opened on Thursday to allow essential workers to shop, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced today.
Police force, defense force and health professionals will be allowed to shop from 6am to 12pm; and 12pm to 10pm will be designated for essential services.
According to Minnis, those essential service include: Fire Services, the Department of Correctional Services, National Insurance Board, Department of Social Services, Department of Environmental Health Services, Department of Immigration, Customs Department, waste disposal and sanitation companies, and essential officers of any water, electricity or other sector encompassing the provision of electronic communications, including print and electronic media.
The prime minister made the announcement during a press conference at his West Bay Street office today.
It came as scores of shoppers flooded grocery stores, in hopes of stocking up ahead of the five-day nationwide shutdown that begins tomorrow at 9pm.
“The decisions that we make are essentially to save lives, to save your life and to save my life,” Minnis said.
“While driving to Cabinet this morning I would have seen the food lines at the supermarket, I would had heard the frustrations of the Bahamian populace, with respect to the food lines and I would have discussed the matter thoroughly with Cabinet.
“This entire event is very fluid and therefore adjustments have to be made.”
The prime minister advised that everyone visiting the super market should wear a mask.
“That is for your good to try and protect you,” he said.
He further insisted that there is sufficient food in the country for every individual, once again advising that there is no food shortage.
“We feel that once we extend the supermarket and remove certain sectors, essential services…out of the alphabetic system, that will immediately reduce the load of individuals visiting our supermarkets,” said Minnis.
“…If you don’t all the work that the government has done in protecting you can be lost over night and we don’t want a meltdown within our society as we are seeing around the world”.
The prime minister also announced that in addition to remaining open until 3pm on Wednesday, pharmacies will also be allowed to be open until 3pm on Thursday.