Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis insisted yesterday that there is no need for panic shopping because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as food wholesalers and suppliers have assured him that there is almost three months worth of food supply already on the island.
“There is no need for it,” Minnis said in statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
“I want to assure the population that we have at least a one to three months’ supply of food on the island and shipping continues as normal.”
Minnis met with local wholesalers and suppliers at OPM.
According to the statement, Minnis met with representatives of Super Value, A & M Foods and local wholesale distributors; he was also briefed on the state of the country’s stock of medicine and other supplies.
“Medicine supplies are also healthy, with a two months’ supply in stock and more supplies en route, wholesalers told the prime minister,” the statement noted.
“Household supplies, such as cleaners and disinfectants, are expected to be on the shelves within days and wholesalers are looking to build stock above the normal levels.
“The prime minister reiterated that price gouging will not be tolerated and any establishment found violating the law will be prosecuted.”
Even before panic shopping kicked into high gear, sanitizing products began to sell out.
Super Value owner Rupert Roberts told Guardian Business last week that Lysol spray products and hand sanitizers sold out at his food stores two weeks ago and while more are being ordered because of the high demand due to the coronavirus, there is a regional supply shortage.
“Panic shopping hasn’t started as yet, although last week the movement of products like the hand sanitizers, Lysol sprays and so on, that was a big, big increase. We sold out,” he said.
This week, after the first confirmed case of the virus in The Bahamas was officially announced on Sunday, Bahamians began panic shopping.