AS Valencia city faces stringent new restrictions, residents showed that they are unlikely to put up with tougher COVID measures as they flouted existing rules at a market yesterday.
An open market that has been taking place at the confluence of Calle Lluis Peixo and Avinguda dels Tarongers in the Algiros neighbourhood saw both stallholders and shoppers ignore existing anti-COVID measures, including the obligatory wearing of masks and requisite social distancing.
A high-placed official within the Ayuntamiento told the Olive Press: “It is almost certain that we will return to a form of lockdown later this week but whether residents will accept this remains to be seen.”
To judge by yesterday’s market, that is far from a foregone conclusion. While the space is fenced off with signs warning shoppers to maintain the safety distance of two metres and to wear masks, the Olive Press observed that these requirements were ‘more honoured in the breach than in the observance’.
Stallholders wore no gloves, there was no sign of hand-gel and shoppers crowded around each stall, seemingly oblivious to anti-pandemic measures.
On Friday, 739 new cases of coronavirus were recorded. Like other regions, Valencia saw a drop in visitors of around 80% in the peak period of July and August; many shops have closed down, unable to withstand this body-blow, and bars and restaurants are already reeling from the toque de queda introduced just over a week ago.
Spain’s GDP relies on tourism to the tune of 11%, and many are questioning whether the economy can withstand another lockdown, in whatever form.
A local business owner, Chris Cooper of Bikealao bicycle rentals, this morning told the Olive Press: “We have just had to close one of our two shops, the one near Mercat de Ruzafa, and we are now worrying whether we can find enough trade to keep our main shop in Grau open.”