Premier Alden McLaughlin has said local suppliers have advised him that Cayman is in  “great shape” when it comes to food as he addressed concerns over shortages in some supplies at local supermarkets.

However, he did say that he was told on Sunday there were some products that have been dwindling on local shelves.

“There are, at the moment, shortages of flour, pasta – they [supermarket owners] didn’t say rice – basically, those flour-based products. But those supplies are now on the way and the situation is actually better now than it was a couple of weeks ago,” McLaughlin said on Sunday as he responded to queries on the issue at the daily COVID-19 press briefing.

He said he had spoken to two of the supermarket owners earlier Sunday and both said Cayman was in great shape.

“I think people can relax. You mightn’t get the precise brand that you want or quantity you want from time to time, but that’s just a reflection of the way things are around the world and particularly in the United States,” he said.

Local supermarket owners had placed restrictions on food and certain items after a rash of panic-buying when Cayman closed its borders and implemented its lockdown measures.

However, the premier said supermarket owners may relax some of those rules soon.

“They say that they will be able very shortly to remove many of the restrictions on the quantities you can purchase of any particular item,” he said.

He said judging from reports he was given, Cayman is in far better shape than most supermarkets in the United States at this point.

“I think everybody in Cayman still has not gotten their head around the reality that we are in a global crisis. So, everything is being impacted,” he said.

McLaughlin said in the same way that Cayman has shut down many of its operations, others around the world and particularly the United States have done the same and it is from the US that “we source a lot of our things that come here”.

He said from time to time there are going to be issues with the supply lines because they’re being impacted around the world.

“They think we are going to be perfectly fine; things are actually, in their words, ‘improving in terms of supplies’. So I was quite comforted to hear that,” he said.

Although he said there were assurances given about local supplies, McLaughlin said, supermarket owners do have alternative options, such as sourcing products from South America, but he added, “it doesn’t seem like, at least for the foreseeable future, that that’s going to be necessary”.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.