Activity in open air markets appears to be on the increase with consumers however showing caution to regain the confidence to frequent the markets for their shopping needs. It also appears that some Local Councils are being cautious in resuming these open air markets in community centres and thus creating problems. Stall owners however are anxious to resume their activities.
Open air stall owners have been given permission to mount their stalls but observe the protocols including that of social distancing.
This morning we visited the Paola open air market but not all stall owners had mounted their stalls and the number of shoppers were not the usual numerous numbers. This was confirmed by the stall owners. Joyce Sciberras who has been running her fish stall for 50 years and Anthony Gatt who has been running his stall for 40 years stated that these last two months have been very difficult for them.
The sale of fish stopped and stall owners stayed at home. Hopefully, matters will begin moving back to normal. Yesterday was a difficult resumption but there was an improvement today. The important matter is that all remain health. A telephone call confirmed the market had been reopened and stalls may be mounted as long as certain measures are taken.
On the other hand some Local Councils are apprehensive about open air markets in their locality. The Paola Local Council said the market is mounted in a limited space area and social distancing is difficult to maintain as required by the protocol. Concerns were also expressed about persons resident in the locality of the market because of the number of consumers it attracts.
The Marsaxlokk Local Council also expressed concerns while understanding the need to reopen the market to help regenerate the economy maintained that public health is a priority. The Council said it is expected that protocols and regulations be strictly observed by stall owners.
The Council said it reserves the right to take immediate action if protocols are not observed by stall owners such as the space between each stall. In cases of non-observance this will be dealt with directly.