Sunday, September 19

Torrevieja leaves the markets at half gas due to the lack of capacity controllers

Access to the market when it reopened on May 29.

Access to the market when it reopened on May 29.

The Ministry of Health authorizes since last December 5 that all merchants in the markets of the province of Alicante can settle without restrictions or weekly shifts, if the municipalities are able to limit and control the capacity of customers of the premises to 50 %. This measure has been well received by the sector – it is a respite from the restrictions that force people to take turns when settling in – and due to a demand that finds in the weekly markets the best value for money in many products, especially food : fruit, vegetables and fresh vegetables.

However, it is not being applied in one of the most important markets in the province. The one in Torrevieja, which is held on Fridays and which before the health crisis had almost 500 stalls, many of them autonomous traders from the municipalities of the Vega Baja. This popular market is installed in an available area of ​​80,000 square meters. But the City Council continues to limit the installation of vendors to just over 250 stalls: it lacks enough staff to limit the capacity to half the capacity of the market area, as explained by the area councilor Antonio Vidal to INFORMATION. The same happens with the La Mata market – more difficult to control because it has many more entrances.

Controller contract

When the start-up of the markets was authorized after the first wave of the pandemic at the beginning of last May, the City Council was also delayed in reopening. He did so at the end of that month when he was able to prepare the site with the necessary indications and signs and urgently hired the provision of a specific surveillance service dedicated to capacity control work. This contract is no longer valid. Vidal assures that the municipality is working to allow that soon all the merchants with assigned positions can settle in without the need to take turns, as is already the case in the markets of Vega Baja.

In most of the souks of the Vega Baja all the available spaces are already completed

The City Council has tried to count on the collaboration of the members of Civil Protection, but the number of available personnel – always volunteers – does not guarantee that control. Nor is it possible to complete this function with Local Police officers who, on a Friday morning shift, lack sufficient personnel to cover this service. In the autumn and winter months -low tourist season-, the presence of the public is reduced in this market and it would not be necessary to limit the capacity in one of the best prepared venues in the province to host this activity: perimeter fencing and only two pedestrian access, in addition to two large car parks. The City Council has suspended the payment of fees for occupation of public domain to these merchants to alleviate the impact of the crisis. With the guaranteed location and without the payment of fees, some are choosing other places where they also have positions awarded before Torrevieja.

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