By Lindsey Turnbull
The task of keeping the country fed during this COVID-19 crisis falls largely on the shoulders of Cayman’s three main supermarkets: Hurley’s, Foster’s and Kirk Market. Each one is doing their part to ensure that shoppers can buy necessities in a safe and orderly fashion while maintaining the required 6-foot distance from other shoppers and staff to stop the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus.
New store hours
As from Tuesday last week, Foster’s store hours changed to 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and, for the first time since Hurricane Ivan, they will be opening on Sunday, from 9am to 5pm (with the exception of Foster’s Morritt’s Express at East End, which will remain closed Sunday). The change in stores hours was to abide by the Government’s 7pm to 5am curfew restrictions. In addition, Foster’s Pharmacy will be open from 6am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday; their delis will be open from 6am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sunday, and their Western Union branches will be open from 7am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, but closed on Sunday.
Foster’s also implemented a dedicated shopping hour from 6am to 7am at their stores for the elderly, infirm and pregnant.
To comply with the new mandatory curfew hours set by the Government, Kirk Market has also changed operational store hours to 7am to 6pm, while their pharmacy is open 9am to 5pm.
Hurley’s store hours are also now Monday to Saturday 7am to 6pm. They have also implemented special shopping hours for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as HSA employees, social workers, and first responders. Dedicated hours solely for these people are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 7am to 9am. At Hurley’s, the elderly and vulnerable will be given a face mask when they enter the store and they ask that HSA employees, social workers and first responders provide ID upon entry.
Online delivery is the best way to shop to ensure social distancing. Hurley’s was the first supermarket to introduce online delivery and there is no lower limit on the amount of groceries you can purchase. Delivery charges are either CI$20, CI$40 or CI$80, depending on customers’ location on Grand Cayman. They also provide a ‘Click and Collect’ service, whereby customers order online and then drive to the store to collect the shopping that has already been bagged and ready to be collected.
Kirk Market has just launched its delivery service. Minimum order is CI$75 and delivery charges depend on your location on Grand Cayman, ranging from CI$14.95 to CI$24.95. They deliver Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 5pm, offering customers the chance to choose a delivery window of two hours.
The Bay Market Cafe at Foster’s Camana Bay has now closed its indoor and outdoor dining areas indefinitely but they continue to offer takeout from all food stations and hot food bars, now service-only, with a reduced menu offering. Bay Market Cafe also recently launched online ordering, with pickup and delivery options within Camana Bay available.
New shopping rules
If you have to shop in the store, each supermarket is suggesting that each household should designate one shopper per household to come into the store. They strongly suggest leaving children at home and social distancing of being 6 feet apart from other shoppers and staff is enforced.
At Foster’s, each customer will be given a shopping cart to shop with at the door, regardless of the size of their shop to help with social distancing. Reusable bags cannot be used, and will not be allowed in store. The fee for plastic bags will be waived.
Staff are also monitoring and restricting the number of customers within their stores throughout the day.
“We ask that the community remain calm, think rationally and use proper hygiene practices throughout the day. We recommend designating one shopper per household to reduce the number of people in store and avoid doubling up on items. When in store, maintain safe social distancing (3 to 6 feet), use a debit or credit card to pay when possible, and sanitise your hands and the shopping cart or basket handles when entering the store,” the Foster’s team asked.
Hurley’s have implemented set procedures so that aisles are now one way. They urge customers to take note of the directional arrows on the floor as this will assist in ensuring all shoppers and staff remain 6 feet apart at all times. They ask shoppers to come prepared, know what you need to buy as you won’t be able to turn back around for items you may have missed. They also say to be aware of floor markers indicating where shoppers can stand when waiting to be served.
Foster’s Supermarket, Priced Right, Kirk Market, and Hurley’s Marketplace all joined forces to address the effects COVID-19 has had on the production and supply of products, implementing strict rules on what people can buy across all their stores. These include a two-product limit per customer on the entire grocery, frozen, and health and beauty care department items. The meat, seafood, produce, dairy, deli and bakery departments will remain limit free.
As an example, a customer can purchase two Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original Flavor, two Quaker Instant Oatmeal Variety Packs, and two Tombstone Frozen Pizzas at the same time. All Foster’s Supermarket, Hurley’s Marketplace, Kirk Market, and Priced Right locations will implement the above limits.
The supermarkets say that while this limit may seem like it could be cause for panic, it’s not. Shipments are still coming in multiple times a week and the supermarkets are still sourcing product from any quality source they can.
“We’ve come together to help ensure product is available for as many people as possible during this uncertain time. Putting the product limits in place stops panic buying and should keep products on the shelf longer. In speaking with our suppliers, we will continue to get product and shipping lines continue to say that the ships will sail,” they confirmed.
Shopper Daniel Terry went to Kirk Market on the Tuesday that the new measures had been implemented at the store, following the Government’s 7pm to 5am curfew.
“I would say that people were cautiously tense,” he said. “I went mid-afternoon and the staff had customers queuing up around the outside of the building to ensure that everyone observed the social distancing rules. Once inside, there were announcements to remind shoppers to stay six feet apart.”
Mr Terry also shopped at Cost U Less and Priced Right on the following Wednesday and observed that Priced Right had implemented one-way shopping aisles.
“I got to Priced Right just before the opening at 6am and there were already people queuing in an orderly fashion to enter, 6 feet apart. They allowed the elderly, infirm and pregnant to enter first, but we only had to wait about 20 to 30 minutes before we were allowed to enter and shop,” he advised. “We were sprayed with hand sanitiser upon entry and encouraged to wipe down the cart handle.”
“I think people just need to realise that this is the new way of life: sanitise and sterilise everything you touch,” he said. “People should not fear the changes, just take the necessary precautions and keep your distance from others.”