Fate of night market still unknown

·3 min read

WILL there be a night market this year?

The Cebu City Market Operations Division is mulling its return amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

City Market Officer Irvin Cabales said his office has already submitted the recommendation to the mayor’s office for the night market to resume operation in early December.

Cabales said they will limit the number of participating vendors to 300 to ensure health protocol will be observed.

If the recommendation is approved, stalls must be one meter apart from each other. Stall workers must wear face masks and face shields. Each stall must also provide hand sanitizers or alcohol for their customers.

Cabales said they will implement a “one entrance and one exit policy.”

Unlike in the past when the night market was open until midnight, Cabales said they’re proposing for it to be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. only.

Cabales said the night market will help vendors recover from their losses during the months of lockdown.

In the past, the night market attracted residents from all walks of life who were on the lookout for bargains.

It helped revitalize the downtown area, which had been losing crowds to the malls that have cropped up all over the metro in the last 27 years.

Stalls offered assorted items ranging from local delicacies, shoes, phone accessories to T-shirts, among others.

A stream of shoppers was always guaranteed since the night market operated when the city was in its most festive mood for the Christmas and the Sinulog celebrations.

Cabales said he already consulted Department of the Interior and Local Government Cebu City Director Ian Kenneth Lucero about the matter.

Citing Lucero, Cabales said the night market is not covered by the memorandum instructing local government units to clear roads of obstructions.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Lucero, but to no avail.

Cabales said the proposal only needs the approval of Mayor Edgardo Labella.

SunStar Cebu also tried to reach Labella on Sunday, but calls were left unanswered.

City Councilor Renato Osmeña Jr., chairman of the market committee, suggested having the night market operate all year round, as this would benefit the vendors.

For this to materialize, the City will have to allocate a space for the vendors, adding that vendors are contributors to the city’s trade and economy, he said.

Osmeña has a pending legislation before the City Council to close P. Gullas St. to motor traffic and turn into a pedestrian lane where vendors can sell their wares.

The city official said the City Market Operations Division is currently working on improving the Tabo sa Banay in Barangay Ermita.

A total of 250 street vendors who were displaced by last year’s clearing operations availed themselves of the City Government’s relocation program and agreed to transfer there.

The City Government suspended the operation of the night market last March 16 after the city was placed under general community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (JJL)