Three of the territory’s popular supermarkets have confirmed that they have heightened sanitary measures at their established, following reports of the recent increase of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the region.
These establishments are Bobby’s Marketplace, One Mart Supermarket, and RiteWay Food Markets.
Proprietor of Bobby’s, Elton Leonard, told BVI News that his business has been going the extra mile with good hygiene practices to ensure a clean environment for both employees and customers.
“We are doing like everybody else. We are keeping the stores very clean, all the carts are being washed and sanitised each day right now, all the cashiers are constantly wiping the counters and sanitizing their hands, especially at the food counters and all the stockers are also constantly wiping down and keeping everything clean,” Leonard stated.
Meanwhile, OneMart and Rite Way Food Markets both made their confirmation via social media postings.
RiteWay said its team is working diligently to keep all stores across the territory clean, while OneMart explained the various measures being undertaken by their establishment.
“As you are well aware, countries around the world are being affected by the latest version of coronvirus that is spreading quickly. We have been monitoring the situation, maintaining contact with local health authorities, and taking internal measures to increase the safety of our valuable clients and team members,” OneMart stated.
These internal measures include increasing cleaning frequency, especially in high traffic areas; disinfecting trolleys and hand baskets more frequently; encouraging staff to be even more vigilant in hand washing; promoting use of the hand sanitizer stations throughout our stores; and minimizing physical contact and group activities where possible.
No need for panic buying
During recent visits to these local stores, BVI News also observed that the sanitary products were moving off the shelves at a quicker-than-normal pace.
The supermarkets however assured that there is no need to panic about these supplies going out of stock, as there is enough available to supply the territory.
“People have been buying those products for quite a while — it’s just that they had a little spike this week. But customers have been buying them a lot for the past month. But they had a little spike this week when they got the news of other Caribbean islands having the coronavirus,” Leonard of Bobby’s Marketplace told BVI News last Friday.
He added: “We’ve been stocking up all the time and there’s no need to have a panic. Actually, supplies are good and our store will be fully stocked at all times and we shouldn’t be out of no products.”
Do not stockpile
RiteWay also advised customers not to over-buy products.
“We are encouraging preparedness, not stockpiling – please buy what you need and leave some for your neighbour behind you. We are in this as a community and it’s important to keep calm.”
Zero Tolerance for Price Gouging
In the meantime, Premier Andrew Fahie in a recent address to the territory said his government will not tolerate any form of price gouging by local businesses who intend to capitalise on the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Cabinet noted that discussions on price gouging and other related matters would be held with the Department of Trade, Investment Promotions and, as well as other stakeholders. Your Government has zero tolerance for this type of negative behaviour,” Premier Andrew Fahie stated.
He further said that members of his administration had met with the supermarket operators and wholesalers, as well as local freight and cargo shipping companies to discuss precautionary measures in response to the virus.