Last Thursday in Rafal, the first of the region’s street markets reopened, and despite the restrictions introduced by the local authority it attracted to it a steady stream of consumers. The one thing it didn’t bring to it, however, was the hustle and bustle, the fun inherent, the atmosphere and the inherent language of the street markets which all echoed amongst the stalls with far less intensity than usual.

There were no traditional huddles of neighbours catching up on the local gossip. The rationale was simply to go, buy and go home as quickly as possible. And that’s probably what will happen in the rest of the markets in the province when they take the decision to reopen in the coming days and weeks.

Stall holders selling fruit and veg, food and other basic necessities returned to the streets and showed what the new normality will be after the coronavirus, including access controls to avoid crowds, just the one entry and exit point, lines painted on the road to mark the distance for buyers, police surveillance and widespread use of gloves, masks and disinfecting gels.

It is an essential activity sector that supports hundreds of families up and down the coast and has special significance in regions such as Vega Baja, where the province’s agricultural production is centralized.

The measures of social confinement have taken markets off the streets for a month and a half with many stallholders having a very hard time. Aid is fine, but only a very few have been able to get it, so although the sales volume in Rafal was much lower than usual, the market was a welcome return for the traders of the municipality and although it will take a while to get back to normal, the people have shown that they can adapt.

In San Fulgencio a Saturday market was held close to Iceland and Lidl where organisers welcomed around 350 customers and the day passed without complaint or incident.

San Fulgencio Saturday Market

There were only a small number of stalls, but everyone – stallholders and customers – perfectly observed the health and safety and the social distancing measures put in place. Everyone was given disposable gloves and hand sanitiser as they entered the market via the solitary entrance and exit point.

Following the success for the market the Tuesday market in San Fulgencio Village and the Thursday market in La Marina Urbanisation will also go ahead with the same measures in place.

The council said on it0s Facebook page that it would like to thank everyone involved in enabling the first market to be held in the municipality since the start of the State of Alarm.