The ongoing lockdown of the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions have sent mixed feelings to some shoppers in Accra who are racing to stock up in times they describe as “uncertain and unexpected”.
Joy Business visited Citydia Supermarket at the North Industrial Area in Accra and was greeted with many empty shelves and deep freezers.
“We keep stocking the shelves every 30 minutes, patrons always trooping in to get for themselves any available essential goods they deem suitable to store amid the lockdown,” Store manager, Fransisca revealed.
Food supply chains in Accra and Kumasi have all been exempted from the 14-day lockdown directive with only deliveries and pickups accepted for now. Amidst these interventions, supermarkets are still being overwhelmed to meet demand and stock shelves.
“That tells you something is really happening. Most of the times you come and find things on the shelves but now some of the places are empty. I drove past certain places – some have closed, some are empty,” a shopper in his 40s lamented to JoyBusiness.
Amid the scramble for essential foodstuffs and products, price gouging and hoarding has been the order of the day.
Executive Secretary of the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana, Samuel Aggrey said: “Most supermarkets are now looking at how to keep up with the huge demands from patrons”. This he assures will have no impact on prices on the shelves especially when all supermarkets under the association have resolved to keep prices relatively stable in the wake of the 14-day lockdown.
“If you go to the Supermarkets prices have been relatively stable. It is a deliberate attempt not to increase prices. All members have resolved to keep prices as they are. If there is no panic buying what we have can last us the rest of the year provided imports keep coming,” he told JoyBusiness.
In dealing with the scourge of panic buyers, supermarkets like Citydia have employed new measures to disperse an even distribution of food items.
“Current interventions from us include limitation of the quantity of essential products that a customer can buy at a time, to guarantee that everyone has access to these products,” management of the Supermarket noted.
Safety Measures amid COVID-19 Lockdown
Meanwhile, all shopping malls and supermarkets under the Food and Beverage Association have adopted some safety measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the retail food and beverage supply chain.
“The working hours have also been reduced. What we intend doing is to ensure by 6 pm, every worker should have closed and gone home.
“Supermarket staff has also been reduced to enhance social distancing. Most of the supermarkets will not be opened in the early hours of the morning by 9 am and close by 4 pm. If we are supposed to lock down further, we may open twice a week,” Samuel Aggrey explained.