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Mercado merchants face overdue rents and bills; contemplate packing up



Merchants at a Salinas mercado say they were recently faced with a dilemma to defy coronavirus health orders or pack up and close for good.

Mercadito Alegria, is nothing like a mall. However, under this pandemic they fall into the same category as shopping malls and have been ordered to shut down.

The owner Jose Juan Mencera says unlike other local markets in the city, they've obeyed health order but tempted to defy.

The stores are closed there no sales.. And the rent, the utilities, all the bills we have them piling on each day -- each month. If theres no income to pay things what are we going to do, said Mencera.

They could risk a chance of being fined for opening like he claims other mercados have.

“Right now we have a dilemma. Do we follow in the steps of the other markets and defy state health orders to keep selling? Or do we follow the law and not expose ourselves to a fine or permanent closure,” he said.

There may be one solution that will help them stay afloat. The Salinas United Business Association or SUBA recently helped them obtain a temporary permit to sell outdoors.

While many are relieved hoping to once again gain some income, others feel the work of having to set up outside isn't worth the earnings -- and a few worry their merchandise will be damaged or stolen. They argue they had a low risk of Coronavirus infection when they careful monitored their shops.

“Because we were managing how many people we were, one person was at the door checking the temperatures and having hand sanitizer for each person that came here, “ said Rubi Uribe who sells things like masks.

Still the frustration will either force people like Uribe to sell outside -- or simply close for good.

Before she leaves she's hoping the city or county arrive with some form of assistance for those at this mercado.

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Veronica Macias


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