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Mérida’s traditional markets fear a new round of restrictions

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Vendors in Mérida’s traditional markets say that a return to a maximum capacity of 30% would be catastrophic, but that a new round of closures is the worst-case scenario. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida is strengthening sanitary measures at its traditional markets in hopes of avoiding another round of closures.

Back in May, when COVID-19 infections were on the way down, the state government authorized city markets to increase their maximum capacity from 30% to 75%.

Now, many stall operators fear that a return to more strict measures is inevitable. 

“We had just started to recover when cases all of a sudden started to spike again. Is is very disheartening, I have no idea what I will do if we are forced to shut down again,” said Juana Rosales, who operates a food stall serving up panuchos and salbutes.

Shoppers and people working at Mérida’s markets are given hand sanitizer and checked for fever when entering. City inspectors can also be seen roaming the stalls ensuring that social distancing guidelines be followed. 

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“The best thing we can do at this point is not let down our guard and adhere to all protocols. If an infection was traced back to here, we would surely be forced to shut down, and nobody wants that,” said Felipe Estrella Bass, a vendor union representative at Lucas de Gálvez market. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers in Yucatán have begun to purchase groceries and other goods through the use of express pickup and delivery services.

Some vendors have decided to leave the market to set up makeshift stalls from which to sell their products on busy city streets, where foot traffic is plentiful.

Mérida’s traditional city markets, or mercados, are spread throughout town and are a great place to pick up fresh fruit, meat, flowers, spices, hammock hooks, or just about anything you could need.

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