'Epicentre' market open to public

'Epicentre' market open to public

Samut Sakhon's Central Shrimp Market -- the epicentre of Thailand's largest spike of Covid-19 cases -- reopened yesterday following a two-month closure to a warm response from local residents.

The market was bustling even before dawn, teeming with traders, buyers and migrant workers who had to adhere to strict health and safety measures that were rolled out to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

All vehicles entering and leaving the market were screened, and visitors were temperature-checked prior to entering the market.

Some vendors and migrant workers also had certificates to show that they had been tested and cleared for Covid-19.

Migrant workers at the market were required to wear protective gears such as rubber gloves, boots and aprons.

To minimise contact during transactions, retail buyers and shrimp farmers must wait at designated areas where screens are installed to help enforce social distancing.

Despite being forced to observe strict health and safety rules, vendors welcomed the decision to reopen the market.

Chayanin Chuidee, who works for a shrimp vendor in the market, said she is confident the economy will recover after the market reopened.

"The two-month closure was a big blow to the local economy, but we welcome strict restrictions that are now in place as they will help boost confidence among both vendors and visitors," she said.

Narinchai Srathonghuam, the owner of a shrimp farm, said the market's reopening would drive up shrimp prices and boost farmers' incomes.

"While the market was closed, there was nowhere for us shrimp farmers to sell our products, so we had to sell them at our farms at lower prices," Mr Narinchai said.

After a shop closes, its operator has to clean all working spaces and equipment in accordance with the Covid-19 guidelines set by the Public Health Ministry.

The market, which had been closed since Dec 19 last year, is now open to the public from 4-11am.

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