Vendors of the Mon Repos Market on the East Coast of Demerara are now baffled after they were notified that the market will be closed from Wednesday, April 8 until further notice.
The Mon Repos/La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council issued a precautionary notice to the vendors Monday in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
While the notice has measures in place for essential vending, vendors do not agree with these measures.
The vendors said they are also conscious of the preventative measures that need to be undertaken to stop the spread of COVID-19, but noted that the decision to close the market is unfair.
The notice stated that all groceries, food, fruits, vegetables and meat vendors will be allowed to vend on the market tarmac from 07:00hrs to 12:00hrs while all clothing and non-essential stalls will be closed until further notice.
Added measures include a new fee of $200 per spot for cleaning and sanitizing of the market tarmac. Prior to the new measures, vendors paid $500 per week.
Meanwhile, the notice also stated that all rentals for stalls within the market building will not be charged during the closure, however, vendors who have enclosed stalls in the market will be allowed to store their goods at a charge of $200 per day.
It was also noted that fish should be separated in a section at the tarmac and there will be no slaughtering, plucking or roasting of animals.
Tessa Samuels has been vending at the Mon Repos Market for the past 30 years.
She told the News Room that the tarmac is more dirty and unhealthy than inside the market.
“They are saying to us that we can go on the road and sell from approximately seven in the morning to 12 at noon and they said after that time they are not responsible if the police come and pick up our stuff,” Samuels said.
The vendors will agree to the reduced hours but prefer to sell inside the market.
“I know that there is a situation going on with COVID-19 but persons coming to buy would know that this market closing at [certain] time and they would come and buy early,” Samuels said.
The Mon Repos Market caters to about 100 vendors but on Saturdays which is widely known as ‘Market Day,’ this number increases by another 100.
Another vendor, Lakeram Rambarran told the News Room that they are not satisfied with the way the NDC is handling this situation.
“A lot of us we vend meal to meal, not day to day and we depend on this; if we need to observe COVID-19 I think the NDC should address us in a more responsible fashion not just haphazard and do what they want to do.
“We have people from as far as Georgetown, Mahaica and Berbice who come here and they depend on this market,” Rambarran said.