Residents flood food stores before lockdown

Maurice Bethel, 26, a server at Baha Mar, hasn’t worked since the resort closed in March.

He is worried about how he and other furloughed workers will manage during a two-week national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Sunday.

“It’s going to do a lot of harm,” Bethel told The Nassau Guardian outside Super Value in the Seagrapes Plaza.

“I’m not working right now so it’s kind of a little hard for me.”

He said he went to the grocery story to pick up “a couple little canned goods”.

With a playful smile, Bethel said, “I’m just trying to survive these two weeks.”

The prime minister has imposed a series of lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions since the first COVID-19 case was reported in The Bahamas on March 15.

There were 104 cases reported in The Bahamas between March 15 and June 30.

Between July 1 and last night, there were 611 cases.

The spike in cases caused Minnis to announce the lockdown, which started last night. Only essential businesses are allowed to operate during the lockdown.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and water depots are allowed to open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and to essential workers on Saturday.

The prime minister said officials will determine whether the lockdown will be extended at the end of the two weeks.

Despite his precarious financial situation, Bethel said he supports the move.

“I think we need it,” he said.

“I kind of support it but people really still hurting right now. People really ain’t on a job right now. So, it’s really kind of hard for people them.”

As he pointed to the deserted entrance of the store, Bethel said, “You see, right now, the food store ain’t even packed because people done spend up all their money after the hurricane just passed. So, it’s really tough right now.”

Ashley Rolle, a 24-year-old who lost her job three months before the pandemic, shared similar sentiments.

“I went to the food store last week and I spent more than I wanted to but that was in preparation for the hurricane,” she said.

“I spent as much as I did with the mindset that I would not be going back to the food store until the end of the month. But, with the lockdown being implemented today, I actually did go back to the store just for a few things that I probably wouldn’t have gotten until later on.

“I wanted to have them on hand knowing that going to the store will not be as convenient or as easy within the coming two weeks.”

Richard Haygood, a 47-year-old father of four, told The Guardian that more time should have been given for people to prepare.

“I’m just getting one or two little last items now,” he said as he exited Solomon’s on Yamacraw Hill Road.

“I think it’s kind of quick that he put it on people so early but at least he giving you time to prepare yourself. I think more time could have been given but I know the severity of the issue right now. Bahamian people ain’t taking heed.”

However, Shelly Thomas, a mother of two, said she was “as prepared as you can be”.

“I mean the basic things that you would need are there and I guess the days that we have that we can get them are a plus,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she would support a decision to extend the lockdown if the cases continue to surge.

“If there is a need for it, it should be done,” she said.

KyShaun Miller, 24, a social and behavioral researcher in the financial sector, disagreed.

“It’s not that I’m not necessarily not in an agreement with the extension of the lockdown,” she said.

“What I’m not in agreement with is that we have not yet as a country — from a governmental or bureaucratic level down to the enforcement of emergency orders and other laws — found a way to coexist with COVID-19.

“We reopened the borders too fast. We sped through those phases too fast for this to make any kind of logistical long-term sense. We’re still drawing down our external reserves from my understanding and it’s not healthy for our healthcare system and it’s not healthy for our economy.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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