CANTON, Texas (KETK) – One of the most well-known events in East Texas is opening back up for the first time since February.
First Monday Trade Days in Canton, the largest flea market in the world, opens up Thursday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the unprecedented cancelation of not just one, but two events.
People from all over the country come to visit the trade days as it is a well known venue.
“Every month, almost, I talk to people from Alaska, California, New York, Illinois,” said custom table builder Ronnie Rhae.
But not being able to open has hurt many small businesses owners including Tracy Calhoun who runs a custom shop with her husband in retirement.
“We had a whole bunch of inventory related to spring and Easter that just got packed away and it will be up for next year. We don’t expect our income to be as good this year because of the COVID,” said Calhoun. “But we have been seeing great crowds here at the first First Monday since reopening.”
The market will abide by the following guidelines:
- Provide additional hand sanitizing stations for the public
- Frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces in restrooms and common areas
- Increase social distancing and disinfection signage around the grounds
- Make regular social distancing and disinfection announcements over the p.a. system
- Train and require all staff to follow special disinfection and safety protocols
- Rely on all vendors to learn and follow state recommended guidelines
Before March, the event had never been canceled in the 170-year history of the market. It kept open through the Civil War, two World Wars, as well as the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919 and the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.
The market hosts over 5,000 vendors from around the world and sells a wide variety of items.
The market did ask that vendors follow these additional recommendations to help against the spread of the virus.
- Take extra precautions to help protect our at-risk population
- Have hand sanitizer available to customers and employees
- Wash hands often
- Consider personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) as recommended by CDC
- Consider contactless or minimum contact payment options
- Practice 6 feet social distancing
- Monitor access to your booth in order to maintain 6 feet social distancing
- Place painters tape or markers every six feet where lines are typically formed to encourage social distancing (checkout or food counters)
- If your booth has multiple aisles, consider making them one way
- Keep areas and surfaces frequented by customers clean and regularly disinfected
- Drink refills and shared table top condiments not allowed
- Reduce the number of tables and seating areas in restaurant locations to 50% of normal capacity