Therold Prudent offers “consideration for an adjustment to shopping policy”

By MERRICK ANDREWS, St. Lucia News Online staff

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(St. Lucia News Online) — Former leader of the Lucian Peoples Movement political party, Therold Prudent, has offered an alternative solution to the shopping congestion experienced at supermarkets and other areas of shopping earlier today, April 7 as the adjusted 10-hour curfew came into effect.

Thousands of Saint Lucians came out of the previous 24-7 lockdown, and scores crowded the supermarkets and areas of shopping across the island — throwing the achievement of social distancing needed to combat the COVID-19-virus-spread out the window.

Below is an edited statement from Prudent, outlining a possible solution to the overcrowding at places of shopping. The statement was originally posted on his Facebook page several hours ago.

Consideration for an adjustment to the shopping policy

Managing the ease of movement, access to food, and other basic living in the age of COVID-19 is no doubt a difficult task for all governments throughout the world, including our own.

There will be trials and errors along the way, but what should matter the most is that we are able (as a nation) to get it right in short order. Therefore, I am hoping that there are authorities stationed at the various shopping outlets today, and in smaller communities, throughout the country, whose responsibility it is to monitor the situation and make a determination by this evening, on whether the plan of action which was implemented today for shopping, is effective enough.

I am of the view, that while the broader objective of the plan is sound, there are a few weaknesses which must be addressed, and if not tweaked.

The lack of enforcement in zoning areas have created very long lines in Rodney Bay, and have kept shoppers in line for more than 3 hours.

From my observation, while most shoppers on the line are patient, and are adhering to the guidelines for social distancing (with the exception of a few), it is critical to review this situation to ensure that tomorrow’s experience is a much better one.

We must ensure that we do not defeat the purpose of quarantine/curfew by inadvertently encouraging clustering outside the various shopping areas.

For the purpose of crowd control, perhaps the authorities may wish to set a long-term policy instead which allows supermarkets, etc. to be open daily from Monday to Friday, with closure at 5 p.m.

Such a policy may reduce the number of shoppers who come out on any given day while enabling all shoppers to be back at home for the mandated curfew which starts at 7 p.m.

I remain very supportive of the government’s efforts in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and hopefully, on this one, some adjustments can be made.

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