Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Going to the supermarket is not always a pleasant task (it often isn’t); during the COVID-19 outbreak it’s a nightmare. Yesterday, the queues of people and trollies, both inside and outside the supermarket were long and unruly. The police were telephoned. That was after a lockdown in New Zealand had been called by the government from Wednesday midnight.
And that was in Queenstown - an isolated place at the bottom of the world that has been decimated by the lack of tourists. It is a tourist town.
If it’s bad in Queenstown it will only be worse in most parts of the world. Everyone has probably seen the photos of empty supermarket shelves in the UK. No essentials, no hand sanitizer (when did it become an “essential” anyway?) and no toilet paper. The youtube video that went viral showed an Australian woman leaving a supermarket with rolls of toilet paper. She is not alone.
There’s no hand sanitizer in most supermarkets because of binge buying. Does one person with clean hands help stop the spread of COVID-19? I received this on Facebook the other day which, I think, sums up the situation: “Dear People who are buying 30 bottles of hand soap leaving the supermarket shelves bare, you do realise that to stop the spread of a virus you need other people to wash their hands too…” “From Women Working”.
What do older people do if they want to go to the supermarket? Those post-70 will have to rely on home delivery. But is home delivery possible? In parts of the UK, supermarkets have stopped delivering to new clients.
Before self-isolation of the over 70s and lockdowns began, older people were going to the supermarkets, mingling with the other shoppers and, for the most part, getting what they needed. This has changed.
Now they can’t do that. They must rely on others, whether delivery people or relatives, to do the shopping for them. And if they get sick it is up to these people to seek help? Will the over 70s be treated or be left to die? Is this ethical?
As restrictions are eased, maybe older shoppers should be given a specific time to do their supermarket shopping, thereby following the lead of the Czech Republic which has two hours in the morning when the supermarket opens for older shoppers.
At the moment, too many people over 70 are left to die. In Italy, the young are given ventilators before the old. Is this happening in other parts of the world? It’s time for governments to prioritise knowledge and experience over inexperience and lack of knowledge.
Photo: by Carole Railton (Copyright). "What do older people do if they want to go to the supermarket?"