Updated: September 27, 2020 10:27 PM
Created: September 27, 2020 08:31 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vendors at Expo New Mexico continue to face uncertainty after the pandemic shuttered the flea market back in March.
As the state-ordered closures persist with no end in sight, many merchants are left struggling to find other ways to survive.
“We're serious about this. For them to have it closed for six months has just been very hard—very hard on us,” said John Ybarra, a vendor.
Hundreds of vendors, like Jesse Fox, set up at Expo New Mexico all year long. Fox said he’s been selling at the flea market for around 12 years.
“When somebody walks in they go and look through all my boxes and they’re looking for a specific comic book—let’s say they’re looking for Spider-Man—they’re hunting, and they’re hunting. Their eye will get about that big and they'll say 'There it is,’” Fox said.
Vendors are now forced to sell from home or at makeshift markets.
“There are many things we could do,” said Debra Knoll, a vendor. “First of all, they can take your temperature at the gate. We can require masks, we can do sanitizing, we can do social distancing and it is outside where it is less risky.”
Officials with Expo New Mexico said they’re waiting on word from the governor’s office to reopen, but there is no current timeline for when that will be.
Fox said the lack of a timeline worries him the most.
“I would like to know the next step even if its six months at 25 percent, at least I know what’s going on that way I can look forward to moving on—to getting back to real life,” he said.
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