Large crowd at Linstead 'Grand Market' during lockdown

Large crowd at Linstead 'Grand Market' during lockdown

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


“The whole place look like grand market,” was how Alston Hemmings, a 65-year-old retired teacher, described the scene at the Linstead Market in St Catherine yesterday.

A visit to the busy town centre on the second day allotted for shopping during the seven-day lockdown of the parish revealed that social distancing under the current measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was near impossible.

In his announcement of Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness mandated that people 65 years old and older were allowed to shop between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, while those with surnames starting with letters A-M should shop from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm, and the others from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

During the parish-wide lockdown, while outdoors, people are also encouraged to practise social distancing and wear something to cover their nose and mouth.

However, while many were seen observing the latter, social distancing and shopping by surnames were almost completely ignored, as a sea of people crowded the streets of Linstead and the roadway leading into the market.

Hemmings told the Jamaica Observer that things were so hectic he had to put off getting his medication so that he could get food, since there was not enough time to do both.

“I went to the pharmacy to get my medication, but when I saw the long train line I turned back. Two hours of shopping is not possible in a place like Linstead. You have much people coming from all over,” he said, naming places as far as Glengoffe in the parish.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, at the press conference on Tuesday announcing the lockdown, encouraged persons to shop as close to their home as possible.

However, in the bustling town centre of Linstead, people travelled from far to shop at the famous Linstead market.

“A lot of people come here to shop. People come from as far as Kellits. But if you give people only two hours to buy what they need then you a guh have a crowd and the virus is going to spread more,” Hemmings said.

At the Bargain World Food Store, long lines stretched into the roadway and down past the closed shutters of other businesses. A mother and daughter seen waiting in line told the Sunday Observer that they had been waiting for over an hour.

“We have been waiting for a long time, but we just have to work with it,” said the mother.

The woman, who wished not to give her name, had just come back from the market and complained that the price for vegetables and other ground provisions had skyrocketed.

“Everything double!” exclaimed one woman. “Vegetables on a whole gone up. Things like cabbage that sell $40 a pound selling for $150. Raising the prices like this is not fair,” said the woman.

She also shared the sentiment of several other individuals who spoke with the Sunday Observer that the allotted time for shopping was not sufficient, given the crowd of people showing up on one day.

“I think what the Government is doing is for the best, but I think that we need more time. It's inconvenient for so many people to come on one day. But we need the stuff, so we just have to wait. That's why so many of us standing here waiting,” said the woman.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT