'Six to Six is better'

Regional

'Six to Six is better'

Market vendors hail extended opening hours

BY ONOME SIDO
Observer West writer

Thursday, April 02, 2020

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny -Vendors plying their wares at the Falmouth and Charles Gordon markets in Falmouth and Montego Bay respectively, are ecstatic that Government has adjusted the opening hours for markets islandwide by four hours from Thursday to Saturday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness at a digital press briefing on Monday, announced that after careful consideration, the government has decided to extend the opening hours for market as of today from 6:00am to 2:00pm to 6am to 6:00pm from Thursday to Saturday.

But even though the vendors are used to longer hours in the marketplace, sometimes going up to 11:00pm before last month's restrictions, due to COVID-19, they are still grateful.

Marcia Brooks, who has been operating at the Falmouth market for over two years, said the extended hours will allow her to pay her creditors.

“It is a good move by the government because mi trus' di people dem tings and mi need fi pay dem or mi nah get nothing fi trus' again. If mi nuh come in here [market], mi can't get likkle money fi pay mi bills dem”, she argued.

Another vendor, Angela McLeod, chimed into the conversation, explaining that even though the shoppers were adhering to the guidelines made by the government, she is cognisant that everyone's health is important.

“Wi feel good about it because it give mi more leniency, more time fi sell likkle more something. Wi understand that it is for the good of our health so 6:00am to 6:00pm nuh bad at all,” said McLeod.

According to Mark, a ground provisions vendor in the Charles Gordon market, he is appreciative of the extended hours and also grateful that the market was recently deep cleaned.

“Wi happy seh di time extend! People still a come buy dem likkle goods, so yuh know di crowd come early before market lock. Mi can mek a extra food [money] now. The place feel cleaner now, and wi hope it continue”, expressed Mark.

At the recent monthly general meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, Councillor for the Montego West division, David Brown, expressed that marketplaces are a potential breeding ground for COVID-19. He added however, that “if the right sanitation methods are practiced, we can keep our vendors safe.”

“Having toured the Wuhan market [in China], I have seen how easily the virus could spread. Markets are zones of converging, people meet in markets……. so what one has to do is to find a way to sterilise the general market area, promote good practices with the vendors, find a way to keep the produce fresh and clean,” he argued.

“We have to focus on the cleanliness of the Charles Gordon market, this threat [coronavirus] can be combated with proper hygiene and situational awareness.”


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