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Shoppers implored to resist panic-buying

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People preparing for a 14-day lockdown formed long queues outside island supermarkets yesterday.

Zach Moniz, the manager of the Lindo's Group of Companies, said it was “mayhem”.

He added: “People need to understand that we are open for the next two weeks and you are allowed to go to the grocery store.”

Mr Moniz said that staff had arrived at the Warwick supermarket yesterday and found customers already outside.

He added that online orders had “gone bananas”.

Mr Moniz said: “I've had to shut the site down a couple of times just because of the high volume.

“I'm not even sure that we can make deliveries yet on Saturday. I'm still waiting for confirmation.”

David Burt, the Premier, announced on Wednesday night that a 24-hour lockdown would be imposed for 14 days starting tomorrow as part of Bermuda's battle against Covid-19.

He said that he had asked John Rankin, the Governor, to declare a state of emergency and that the public, with the exception of essential workers, were to leave their homes only for food, medicine or gas unless there was a medical emergency.

Mr Burt said that the only businesses that would stay open were food producers, wholesalers, grocery stores, doctor's offices and medical centres, pharmacies, gas stations and the docks.

Utility companies such as gas and water will be available for emergency service and banks will be on restricted hours to provide only essential services.

Mr Moniz said that Lindo's and its workers understood the part they had to play to help Bermuda get through the Covid-19 crisis.

He added: “We will be here to fulfil that role as best we can, as long as we can.

“Even though for us it is, at times, very overwhelming, we are still showing up. My staff are absolutely incredible.”

He said that customers also had a part to play. Mr Moniz explained: “We need them to send one shopper, and one shopper only, per household.”

He said that customers must also stay at least six feet apart from one another, keep their hands clean, and not socialise with one another to help get people in and out fast.

Mr Moniz added that customers did not have to buy for the entire two-week lockdown in one visit.

He told the public: “Come in and buy for your three or four days, come back in three or four days and get what else you need, and then come back in another three or four days.”

Seth Stutzman, the president of The MarketPlace, said that its stores had also long lines yesterday.

He added that customers were told that stores were well-stocked and would be open over the next two weeks.

Mr Stutzman said: “Nobody needs to worry — we're going to be here.”

He added that “tons of containers” arrived every week and that “everything that we can get, we're getting'.

Mr Stutzman said: “Our teams are doing such a great job with procuring the right items and getting stuff on the island.”

He added that MarketPlace employees were working around the clock.

Mr Stutzman said: “We have the most amazing staff on the planet.

“They are really the unsung heroes that are out there, on the front lines, every day.”

He added that social-distancing was enforced in queues outside and at tills and stores were deep cleaned daily.

Mr Stutzman said that it was vital that customers practised social-distancing and had a plan when they arrived.

He explained: “Have a list and be prepared to shop in a speedy fashion — that way we can serve everybody.”

Mr Burt said on Twitter that people in line outside supermarkets should know two things.

He added: “Grocery stores will be open for the next two weeks and will be the only place you can go.

“The four major grocers have extended the traditional Wednesday five per cent discount to all days of the shelter in place.”

Hectic activity: shoppers practise social separation outside the MarketPlace supermarket on Church Street, Hamilton, yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Shoppers outside the MarketPlace on Church Street, Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Shoppers outside the MarketPlace on Church Street, Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Shoppers outside the MarketPlace on Church Street, Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Shoppers outside the MarketPlace on Church Street, Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Shoppers outside the MarketPlace on Church Street, Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Customers line up outside MarketPlace on Church Street at about 11.30am today (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)
David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
Patiently waiting: shoppers practised social separation outside The Supermart on Front Street yesterday (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published April 03, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 03, 2020 at 9:34 am)

Shoppers implored to resist panic-buying

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