Commuters cite COVID concerns as they rush to beat curfew in Spanish Town

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Commuters cite COVID concerns as they rush to beat curfew in Spanish Town

Friday, February 19, 2021

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ST CATHERINE, Jamaica — At 7:50pm, just ten minutes before the islandwide nightly curfew took effect, hundreds of St Catherine residents were still scrambling around in Spanish Town.

As OBSERVER ONLINE toured the town, several jerk pans could be seen wide open along the side of the Spanish Town Shopping Centre on Burke Road, and vendors plying clothes and market produce hurried to cash in on last-minute sales.

Even with police officers out in their numbers, vehicular traffic chugged along slowly through the town.

On the taxi stands, scores of people could be seen waiting around anxiously for transportation to get home.

"I've been standing here for half an hour now trying to get a taxi, but all of the ones I called said they're not coming back out for the night because of the curfew," said one woman, who lives in Cherry District, a rural community located about 40 minutes out of Spanish Town.

The woman expressed that the 8 o'clock curfew was too early, as she had been stuck in traffic all evening coming from her workplace in Half-Way-Tree.

"My workplace closes at six, and it's hard for me to get a bus in Half-Way Tree, especially on Fridays. Then I come here and I'm stranded again, because the taxis are going in earlier."

She lamented that the few drivers who braved the streets close to curfew were very reluctant to take turn-offs, and she would need one to get home.

Another woman who was heading to Point Hill shared similar sentiments.

"The 10 o'clock never bad, because it give people enough time fi go home, especially people who live far. Even nine wouldn't be too bad. But the 8 o'clock just cause everybody fi a rub up and a race fi get inna taxi, and the driver them a pack up the cars like sardine too. That ago cause COVID fi spread faster," she reasoned.

At curfew time traffic was almost at a standstill at the Spanish Town round-a-bout, as motorists headed in the direction of Old Harbour, most exiting the Spanish Town bypass, trying to get onto Old Harbour Road. John's Road also had a steady stream of traffic, though more fluid, heading in the direction of Kitson Town.

Candiece Knight

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