From hustle and bustle to social distancing and strict controls as streets markets on Spain’s Costas make a comeback

NOT THE SAME: Self-service or touching anything on display is a no-no. CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Garrucha Facebook @AytoGarrucha

STREET markets are making a comeback along the Spanish Costas for the first time since the coronavirus crisis lockdown came into force in mid-March, but the noisy hustle and bustle has been replaced by social distancing and strict controls.

The country’s open-air markets are allowed to open under Phase one of the de-escalation and are reappearing in towns and villages on the Costa Almeria and in parts of the Costa Blanca, which are already a week into this first step of the lockdown easing. Malaga and the Costa del Sol and Granada join them tomorrow, Monday.

However government regulations aimed at preventing coronavirus infection, while essential, have inevitably taken a lot of the fun out of the street market shopping experience.

To begin with only a quarter of each market’s authorised number of stalls are permitted and only one-third the usual number of market-goers are allowed to be in the market area at any one time.

In some cases local councils have had to move the markets from their traditional locations, often lining narrow streets, to areas with a lot more open space, but considerably less character.

CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Garrucha Facebook. @AytoGarrucha

The area where the stalls are set up are cordoned off, and police and Guardia Civil officers keep controls on the number of people going in and out.

CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Garrucha Facebook. @AytoGarrucha

Stalls have to be set up in lines and well-separated. Stallholders have to follow a whole bunch of health and safety measures, from wearing gloves and masks and disinfecting their hands between serving customers to installing screens as physical separations from themselves and shoppers, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting everything.

Market-goers are supposed to keep well apart and not to mill about, but rather to follow clearly marked out directions.

For now the products on offer are limited to food items and basic essentials. Self-service or touching anything on display is a no-no.

CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Garrucha Facebook. @AytoGarrucha
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Written by

Cathy Elelman

Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.

Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.

Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.

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