Syndicates of Bakeries, Gas Stations Reassure Citizens amid Panic Buying

The syndicates of bakeries and fuel stations reassured citizens and residents on Wednesday that there will be no shortages during the 11-day strict lockdown that authorities have imposed to curb a dangerous spike in coronavirus cases.

The head of the syndicate of supermarket owners, Nabil Fahed, meanwhile voiced skepticism over supermarkets’ ability to meet all home delivery requests during the lockdown, in which supermarkets and grocery shops have been ordered to close their doors and only offer delivery services.

“The home delivery service requires manpower, trucks and cars, and this is unavailable,” Fahed said in an interview with the National News Agency, noting that only some supermarkets and branches of supermarkets have delivery services.

“Some on the coronavirus committee believe that supermarkets lead to the spread of the pandemic, but this is not true, because they are very strict in enforcing anti-coronavirus precautionary measures,” Fahed added, noting that no country has shut down supermarkets during the pandemic.

He also called for reversing the decision and for extending opening hours to prevent crowding inside supermarkets.

The head of the syndicate of bakery owners, Ali Ibrahim, for his part noted that there is no reason for consumers’ run on bakeries, which will continue to receive customers during the lockdown, albeit until 3pm.

“We have increased working hours and laborers are working beyond their capacity for an additional eight hours, but people are not being convinced,” Ibrahim said.

“Bakeries are exempted from the lockdown decision and will operate daily from 8am until 3 pm,” he added.

He also reassured that “flour and bread are available,” stressing that “pressure and panic buying are unjustified" and might “aggravate the spread of the pandemic.”

The representative of fuel distributors Fadi Abu Shaqra meanwhile told the agency that “there will be no gasoline crisis during the general lockdown.”

“All stations will open and work during the specified times,” Abu Shaqra added.

The Higher Defense Council has allowed fuel stations to open till 5pm during the lockdown.

The National News Agency meanwhile reported that supermarkets in the southern city of Tyre were witnessing an unprecedented turnout on the eve of the lockdown which begins on Thursday.

“Some co-ops exceeded their ability to receive customers as some foodstuffs sold out,” NNA said.

Citizens also queued outside bakeries to buy bread as some gas stations ran out of gasoline.

In Sidon, citizens scrambled to grocery shops, butcheries, bakeries and gas filling centers although these centers will remain open during the lockdown.

“Some citizens did not abide by precautionary measures in terms of wearing masks,” NNA said.

The northern governorate of Akkar has meanwhile witnessed a “hysteric and alarming situation over the past three days” as to panic buying, the agency added.

“The peak was today, especially at ATMs and in bakeries, grocery shops and shops that sell meat, fish and dairy products,” NNA said, noting that this situation led to “emptying the shelves of bakeries and shops of bread and some foodstuffs.”

“There was major laxity in respecting social distancing and wearing masks,” the agency added.

Source: Naharnet

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