Statement from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) On Panic Buying & Preparedness for COVID-19

Statement from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) On Panic Buying & Preparedness for COVID-19

March 16, 2020

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) is very concerned by recent reports of “panic buying” in light of the heightened alert surrounding COVID-19.

The BCCI has been monitoring the situation relating to supplies and based on our survey of retailers and distributors within our membership, we wish to assure the general public that there are adequate supplies of food and essential items to meet the needs of all Barbadians in the event of the impact of COVID-19. There is no need for panic buying. Ironically this practice can result in unnecessary food and supply shortages particularly for the more economically vulnerable in our society.

We recognize that there is currently a shortage of hand sanitizers but wish to remind the public that there are even more effective alternatives such as antibacterial soap, which medical experts emphasize is the preferred and most effective option.

The Chamber stands in support of national efforts and the proactive action by the Government to prepare the nation for the likely impact of COVID-19. The Chamber joins the call for unified and responsible action by all Barbadians and in this regard, we appeal to members of the public to remain calm as you continue to prepare yourself and your family.

We encourage you to be mindful of the needs of your fellow Barbadians, particularly, the vulnerable in our society as you do so.

Above all, let us be mindful of the serious negative consequences that panic buying, fear and hysteria can have on the stability of the economy, national food security and the welfare of all.

The BCCI, with the support of its members within the retail sector, remains committed to working with the Government in the interest of every Barbadian during this critical time. In keeping with this commitment, we wish to emphasize that we will not condone any action by merchants who may take unfair advantage of consumers by excessively increasing the prices of goods and supplies that are vital to the health, safety and welfare of consumers.

13 March 2020