UPDATE Friday at 12:30 p.m.: Foster’s IGA, Priced Right and Camana Bay’s Bay Market on Thursday moved to reassure the public they retained “sufficient supplies of essential products” in the face of the series of storm threats, but cautioned that “irregular shopping patterns” could produce “some product shortages.”
“For example,” said Senior Marketing Manager Julian Foster, “we may not have all of your specific favorite flavor of peanut butter but we will have peanut butter. We will have milk but we may not have every variety.”
He said shipping patterns from Florida could be affected, but “we keep extra supplies on hand for these instances and should have most perishable essentials well into next week and non-perishable essentials further out than that.”
Cayman Islands Port Authority Cruise and Security Manager Joseph Woods on Friday morning firmly rejected rumors circulating on the Internet claiming the port would close in the face of Hurricane Irma.
Mr. Woods said, “All offices and the Cargo Distribution Centre are open and working as normal.”
He did not elaborate but reiterated the message Friday morning, saying he had “advised that the Port is open.”
Responding to questions about storm-related delays of any Port Authority departures or arrivals, Mr. Woods said “Carnival Glory has canceled its call for Monday, but we have two additional bookings for Thursday,” and promised “further updates as things change.“
Port Authority Deputy Director and Chief Commercial Officer Melissa Ebanks noted “the development of incorrect news surrounding our Port operations.”
Managers at both Kirk’s and Hurley’s supermarkets said they had received shipments of perishable goods from Miami as recently as Friday morning.
“We received a perishable container from Miami this morning,” said Hurley’s General Manager Tony Rankine on Friday. He acknowledged that online chatter had sparked “panic buying,” but remained confident the supermarket would manage the sudden demand.
“There are a lot of people in here, but we get perishables twice a week and will get another container tomorrow, Saturday,” he said.
“We’ve been watching the storm and we are going to get a double order, so we’re prepared ahead of time.”
Should the Port of Miami close, supplies would be re-routed through another Florida port, said Thom Guyton, general manager at Kirk’s Supermarket.
“There are seven or eight ports in Florida and it depends on what shape they’re in, but if they tell us [they are shut], we will operate out of Tampa, even for the next three months, and we will just shift our operations a little.
“People are hoarding because of the publicity,” he said, “and we expect some disruption because of Miami, but we are flying in additional perishables – and our prices will not change, not one penny.”