Western Jamaica stocks up amid heavy traffic

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Shoppers across western Jamaica stocked up on a wide range of grocery items Friday afternoon in preparation for the weekend lockdown announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The lockdown was among a raft of new measures to curtail the islandwide spike in COVID-19 cases.

The new measures, including expanded weekend curfews beginning March 27, form part of provisions under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

The revised weekend hours will begin at midday Saturday, continue through Sunday, and end at 5:00 am on Monday, March 29.

There was a steady flow of customers at most of the grocery retail outlets visited by the Jamaica Observer late Friday afternoon.

Shoppers were seen loading cases of spring water, canned food and other items onto trolleys before making their way to the cashier.

The late afternoon shopping was a contrast to pedestrian going noticed earlier in the day.

Early Friday afternoon, one civil servant who was shopping at the Progressive Supermarket at Whitter Village, Ironshore in St James, made it clear that she was using the opportunity to do her normal monthly shopping and her presence at the business facility had nothing to do with any COVID-19 lockdown.

“You have to understand that a number of us who are paid monthly would have used the weekends to shop for the coming month. I would normally pick up my groceries on Sundays after church, but I am just doing it today because it will be an entire lockdown on Sunday and half-day tomorrow (today),” she explained.

One supervisor at a supermarket in Montego Bay shared that a lot of customers came out on Thursday to beat Friday’s expected crowd.

“They came in yesterday (Thursday) because they did not want to be caught in the crowd and you know with COVID around people don’t want to mingle,” she shared.

One of the supermarket workers, who assist shoppers with pushing their trolley to transport grocery items to their vehicles, revealed that she made more trips and got more tips on Thursday in comparison to Friday.

“Up to the time yesterday (Thursday) was much busier than now. Up to now me tired from yesterday because of the numerous times I push out groceries for the customers,” explained the supermarket worker.

There was also noticeably brisk shopping at the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay and long lines at the nearby Time and Patients Bakery. Meanwhile, the police were out in their numbers to assist with the monitoring of traffic in the congested streets in the city of Montego Bay and the major towns across western Jamaica.

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