Roberts calls for “brutal” penalties for COVID-19 infractions

Roberts calls for “brutal” penalties for COVID-19 infractions
Super Value Owner Rupert Roberts .(FILE PHOTO)

Super Value had 34 employees in quarantine at one time, but tests came back negative

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A prominent businessman yesterday called for “brutal” penalties for those who breach COVID-19 restrictions, telling Eyewitness News, “I would hate to see another lockdown”.

Rupert Robert’s, Super Value’s president, told Eyewitness News that the country can overcome the surge in COVID-19 cases if persons follow the necessary protocols and adhere to the various restrictions.

The country continues to grapple with a surge in COVID-19 infections, with more than 4,000 cases recorded to date and nearly 100 deaths.

During his national address on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis hinted that increased restrictions may be on the horizon for New Providence following strategy talks with health consultants this week.

Roberts said: “I think eventually we will learn how to beat this if only people would obey the rules. I would hate to see another lockdown.

“I don’t see how they can shorten supermarket hours because that crams people together.

“I think the beaches should also be opened up so that you can go anytime. I think the penalty for breaking the regulations should be brutal.

“This thing is affecting our health and livelihood. The penalties should definitely be stiffer, penalties like you never heard of.”

Last week, Minister of Health Renward Wells noted there has been a consistent trend of workplace exposures in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in The Bahamas.

Roberts continued: “We merchants know that we are keeping our staff safe on the job and keeping our customers safe.

“Persons are bringing it to the job. We have had too many cases of people that tested positive trying to show up to the organization for various reasons.

“Our rule is if you have symptoms or think you have symptoms, call in and we send you for a test.

“If you have it, we pay you for three weeks and give you another test when you are okay, and then you can come back to the job.

“We have careless people breaking our rules and if you break the rules you are fired. We can’t tolerate that nonsense.”

He added: “We had a cashier test positive and we found her in another store. The Ministry of Health quarantined the entire front end.

“We had to pull a cashier from each store to fill that shift, costing us a lot of overtime.

“As employees get exposed we quarantine them. I know that at one time we had as high as 34 persons quarantined, but nothing ever came of it.

“No one ever tested positive that we had in quarantine.”