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VIDEO - Day 5 of COVID-19 Lockdown: What is it like out there?

Mar 31, 2020
VIDEO - Day 5 of COVID-19 Lockdown: What is it like out there?

Port Elizabeth - So what is it like out there during this 21-day lockdown? Your correspondent on Tuesday morning visited two major shopping malls and supermarkets in the Port Elizabeth CBD.

What you immediately notice is the absence of traffic on the roads - not to say there were no cars. There were people driving to various points across the City, but it was not the usual busy morning rush that often sees traffic jams on Port Elizabeth's main roads.

An absence of pedestrian traffic was also apparent. Even those less fortunate, whom we often see at intersections were not there. Your correspondent did see one or two homeless people going about their business -- they are supposed to be in shelters during this time.

Although your correspondent was prepared to be stopped at every turn by soldiers and police enforcing the 21-day lockdown, he was able to drive around with no soldier in sight neither were there roadblocks on the roads. Of course, am not suggesting that you now go out there - it is important that we adhere to the directive to stay at home and limit our movements outside to replenishing supplies or going to the doctor. We must all help to flatten the curve of infections.

Along the way, all businesses were closed except for petrol stations, which seemed to be having business as usual with attendants filling up cars. With petrol prices set to drop from Wednesday, perhaps many will also be flocking to the garages to fill up!

At the first mall, the Walmer Shopping Mall, your correspondent found long queues at the entrances as people waited for the doors to be opened so that they can go in and do their business.

Moving onto the next mall, Greenacres Shopping Mall, it was almost the same story. 

Again along the way, several supermarkets were open to shoppers - here there were no queues, you just walk in, have your hands sprayed, your trolley wiped for you :) and you do your shopping.

At Greenacres, there were long queues as people waited for 9:00am when the shopping centre opens.

Barricades and security guards were in place to ensure order.

However, there was noticeable frustration as the mall's entrances were apparently designated for specific shops and banks. Some shoppers complained that they had made several rounds around the mall already as they were told to go to the next entrance at every entrance in order to access their bank's ATMs.

When the mall finally opened, the security guards were also allowing people in in batches. You were not just walking in - you had to wait your turn, then go in and get your hands sprayed with hand sanitiser. 

What one also noticed was that shoppers were not abiding by the social distancing rules set out by the government as everyone wanted to get into the mall quickly - making the job of the security guards, that much more difficult. Not everyone had masks and gloves... 


This was also the routine when you get into the shops. Most of the businesses in the mall were closed except for Checkers, Shoprite and Clicks and a few others like MTN.

Contrary to the fears of people, who had ran to the malls and shops to buy necessities ahead of the lockdown, the supermarkets that were visited by your correspondent had everything in stock. Of course, here and there, a section of the shelf would have a few items, but 99.9% of the shelves had their stock - there was really no need for the panic buying seen leading to the lockdown.  

The deli sections of most of the shops had a notice that the managers were awaiting clarity from the government before they could stock pre-cooked foods.

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