Market vendors demand more time
The adjustment to the shopping days for St Catherine, which has been placed under lockdown for 14 days because of the spread of COVID-19, has still not satisfied some vendors.
Sellers in Linstead said that while they were mindful of the attempts to curb the novel coronavirus, there is still not enough time for shoppers.
“I have been selling in the Linstead Market here for 40 years and it’s the first I have seen it like this,” said Carmen Perry.
“I think maybe if them give us two (exclusive market) days, then more sales would have been made.”
The 60-odd-year-old said that the state-mandated social distance – six feet between persons – must be achieved for COVID-19 to be controlled.
“This arrangement in the market will not work unless there are proper arrangements. … Now, everybody a bungle up,” Perry said.
Perry, who journeyed from Riversdale district to Linstead, said for four decades she would be there (in the market) four days per week, but the new direction is cause for concern.
“This business depends on customers, and these customers have to collect money before they spend. Therefore, we need more time,” she told The Gleaner.
Meanwhile, the hawkers are lobbying for shopping to be allowed on Thursdays as well.
“Right now, we need to have more time, as by the time the people dem get through with them money, the day is done,” Meraldo Davis said.
“The business not working out. The vendors need time and the customers need time to spend.”
Meanwhile, the police kept a watchful eye on remittance outlets in Bog Walk and Linstead, which have grappled with crowd control as customers try to collect money during the limited opening hours.
“We are fully aware of the need of the public, and we’ve deployed our members to serve them,” Senior Superintendent of Police Beau Rigabie said.
After scenes of crowded town centres shortly after the lockdown was imposed, Prime Minister Andrew Holness added Mondays and Saturdays for the public in St Catherine to shop.
Previously, they could only shop on Wednesdays and Fridays.