New regulations leave PriceSmart shoppers confused » EntornoInteligente

New regulations leave PriceSmart shoppers confused / “I now reach so I don’t know if the place open, but it look close to me,” An­nie Ram­per­sad said as she drove in­to the car park of PriceS­mart in La Ro­maine. And her in­tu­ition at that time was right. Peo­ple were sit­ting in their cars, the es­tab­lish­ment’s doors were locked and not even the se­cu­ri­ty guards could give peo­ple an an­swer.

Some 64 kilo­me­tres away at PriceS­mart’s Movi­eTowne branch, there was the same con­fu­sion.

“Morn­ing Sir, we on­ly let­ting in 73 peo­ple at the mo­ment and I can’t tell you what time we go­ing to open so if you in a rush I rec­om­mend you come back lat­er,” one se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cer told a hope­ful shop­per.

To­day the po­si­tion is clear. Min­is­ter Stu­art Young said in no un­cer­tain terms that dis­count mem­ber­ship stores will re­main open dur­ing the Prime Min­is­ter’s press brief­ing yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. How­ev­er, they are to on­ly sell gro­cery items.

“We have tak­en a de­ci­sion af­ter con­sul­ta­tion and af­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the Prime Min­is­ter and the com­mit­tee, un­for­tu­nate­ly in the last 24 hours we had some type of be­hav­iour that con­cerned us where we had said that cer­tain mem­ber­ship stores should pull back be­cause we were hav­ing large gath­er­ings…we’ve tak­en a de­ci­sion where we’d al­low these fa­cil­i­ties and one of them be­ing PriceS­mart to op­er­ate but on­ly to sell es­sen­tial items.”

But yes­ter­day morn­ing many were puz­zled as to why they met closed doors.

“I feel kind of weird,” one el­der­ly woman in La Ro­maine told Guardian Me­dia, “be­cause I didn’t see any­thing in the news last night.”

And she would not have as the up­dat­ed le­gal no­tice was on­ly made pub­lic around 8:16 am on Fri­day.

Le­gal No­tice No. 137 sec­tion 6 said, ‘All re­tail es­tab­lish­ments, in­clud­ing mem­ber­ship dis­count stores, shall re­main closed to the pub­lic.’

There­fore mem­bers of the pub­lic who were at­tempt­ing to avoid the dai­ly rush by get­ting their shop­ping done ear­ly would have been ig­no­rant to the up­date. How­ev­er, some saw the no­tice on so­cial me­dia but did not know it would have come in­to ef­fect im­me­di­ate­ly.

“I thought I would have a last-minute run in to pick up some stuff,” one man told us while he was leav­ing PriceS­mart’s Port-of-Spain branch.

A com­mon ques­tion they all had how­ev­er was ‘why?’

For many of them, this es­tab­lish­ment sells food stuff which is al­lowed un­der the pub­lic health reg­u­la­tions.

How­ev­er, Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and Min­istry of Le­gal Af­fairs, Renu­ka Sagram­s­ingh-Sook­lal said the Gov­ern­ment is aware that places like PriceS­mart are not in the busi­ness of sell­ing gro­cery items alone.

“They sell clothes, ap­pli­ances and the list goes on. So with malls closed the in­for­ma­tion is that peo­ple are con­gre­gat­ing in large num­bers to buy oth­er items. Food is es­sen­tial but you can get that at a su­per­mar­ket or the neigh­bour­hood mar­ket,” Sagram­s­ingh-Sook­lal told Guardian Me­dia.

“Now is not the time to de­cide you want a new air fry­er for mum­my, the best gift you can give her on Moth­er’s Day is to keep her safe,” the Min­is­ter added.

But be­fore Min­is­ter Stu­art Young came and an­nounced that the Gov­ern­ment had back­tracked on their de­ci­sion, PriceS­mart may have got­ten word of it. As at around 10 am yes­ter­day a sign was put up at the Movi­eTowne branch stat­ing that for now no mem­ber­ship is re­quired and on­ly es­sen­tial items would be sold. How­ev­er, that sign was tak­en down af­ter all of three min­utes. It may be back up again to­day.

In the mean­time, their cus­tomers are pleased with one el­der­ly cou­ple telling us that they use the dis­count mem­ber­ship store for their es­sen­tial items. While oth­ers mused that to close places like this would lead to more crowds at the con­ven­tion­al gro­ceries.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian

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