CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Market is set to reopen on Thursday, June 18, but some vendors are weary of returning because of COVID-19.
Marina Cantlon, a vendor at the Charleston Market, said she doesn’t understand why the city would reopen the market right now with South Carolina seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Barry Newton, manager at the Charleston City Market Office, outlined their plans to ensure safety when the market reopens.
“We are trying to make sure [vendors] all understand that yes they will have to wear a face mask, they will have to maintain a six foot distance and we will have all the proper signage and stickers in place.”Barry Newton, Manager, Charleston City Market Office
Newton added that shoppers will not be required to wear masks, but it will be highly recommended that shoppers wear masks when attending the market.
Despite having some safety measures, Cantlon doesn’t believe that it’s possible to keep people at a social distance within the market.
Newton said that rent will be free during the month of June but will steadily increase to 25% in July, 50% in August, 75% in September, and finally 100% in October.
Temporary vendors will have to pay $30 a month to maintain a spot on the list to use their space in the Market.
However, Cantlon believes that venders, who have underlying health conditions, and decide they’re not comfortable with coming back should not have to pay rent until they return.
“There’s no exception for people like me which I would say is about 10-15% of the market vendors that have underlying health conditions where we shouldn’t pay rent and decide whether to go or not. My doctor told me absolutely not.”Marina Cantlon, Vendor, Charleston City Market
The public is also concerned about the market reopening as one citizen told News 2 they’re concerned that reopening the market could lead to a bigger spread of the virus because of how narrow the walkways are and based on the number of people who visit.
However, Barry Newton says the Market is making sure that safety is their number one priority and their safety plan has been approved by city officials.