Such times of crisis require us to re-evaluate our current policies
This newspaper has editorialized before on the important role supermarkets have played during the lockdown, giving people from all backgrounds access to essential goods without which they could very well not have survived.
In fact, by remaining open in such a manner, supermarket staff are nothing short of heroes, taking a most necessary risk in the process and ensuring that there is no unnecessary panic during this very troubling time.
But there is yet another advantage to these supermarkets: Since they maintain better levels of hygiene and social distancing and remain open for longer during the lockdown, they have also become a source of essentials for low-income people as well, people who have traditionally preferred wet markets.
However, supermarkets are subject to an additional 5% VAT -- a significant amount of money, especially for low-income households -- which is not applicable at general stores.
Such times of crisis require us to re-evaluate our current policies, and we must understand that, in this context, when people from all walks of life are taking advantage of supermarkets, this additional VAT is an additional burden that people could do well without.
Taxation is, of course, extremely important; however, losing the income from the VAT on supermarkets would not amount to a significant loss for the government.
On the other hand, it must be understood that these supermarkets have now become the safest source of essential goods for many, and eliminating this bit of taxation, during this difficult time, would go a long way towards providing a much-needed cushion for the customers of supermarkets.