In a wild rush especially for cash, large crowds today converged throughout the town of Linstead, St. Catherine – ignoring Government’s renewed appeal for them to practice social distancing and prevent over-crowding.
The appeal for social distancing, which locally requires people to be at least six feet apart, is among measures aimed at minimizing the spread of the highly contagious Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The government, which has placed St. Catherine under a virtual shutdown for seven more days, is allowing people in the parish to shop today, Friday, Saturday and next week Monday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave the go-ahead for more shopping days this week, after it became apparent that the two days allowed last week were not enough, and were causing over-crowding and chaos.
The government also made it mandatory for no more than 10 people to gather in any one area.
Those measures, however, were generally ignored in Linstead today – like they were last week Saturday.
This is the first day since last Saturday that people are being allowed back into the streets.
Their frustration was palpable as they stood in long queues especially at Automated Teller Machines, as well as MoneyGram and Western Union outlets throughout Linstead.
Jamaica National Bank and Scotiabank offered limited in-branch services to their customers.
Fletcher’s Avenue lived up to its reputation by being the busiest Linstead street today.
There were also hundreds of people shopping for food, and for medication at private pharmacies and at the state-owned one located at Linstead Public Hospital.
While awaiting her turn to enter the hospital compound, Sharon Reno lamented the virtual lack of social distancing.
She told The Beacon: “We have to have a social distant. It’s very rough because you can’t go up near people – and you have to keep at least six feet or a hand-length from people now.
“But you have some people just into yuh body just like that. Dem nuh know nutten bout social distant. Nuh matter how yuh talk to them, dem want trace yuh off,” Reno further said.
Many members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, in the meantime, were observed trying assiduously to maintain order. Some, however, were accused of breaking queues to facilitate their purported acquaintances.
The shopping day ends at 6PM, when an all-island curfew will commence.
Jamaica, so far, has recorded 233 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including six deaths.
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