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Shoppers line up outside the Marbella market, waiting their turn to enter on Sunday morning.

Sascha Wilson

Municipal police officers were once again at the Marabella market yesterday as scores of customers turned out to buy goods.

Interviewed at the market, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said the increase in customer traffic was as a result of the Princes Town and Penal markets being closed yesterday.

“It is not normal for us to be operating on a public holiday but given the circumstances and challenges that we are faced with we decided to open. I don’t think Princes Town open and the other usual markets are not open this morning. That is why you are seeing a surge here and an increase in the normal crowd. It don’t usually be as bad as I saw here this morning because the line is going around the corner.”

However, he said municipal police officers were at the venue trying to manage the crowd and ensure adherence to the public health guidelines. While social distance markers were on the ground, Municipal Police South Snr Supt Cecil Santana could be heard pleading with some people who were ignoring the markers, to social distance.

He said his officers were also doing patrols to ensure that there was no illegal vending in and around the market.

“We also have periodical announcements being made asking people do their shopping quickly and exit so that people on the outside will be given an opportunity to come into the market so they to can do their shopping. We are also ensuring that they wash their hands and they maintain social distance and that they wear their face mask.”

He said people were advised that if they fail to properly wear their masks they would be issued with a ticket.

However, Gunness Seecharan of Reform Village was not happy with the frequent crowds at the market.

“I have been regular on a Sunday since the pandemic and I find every time you come here the line getting worse,” he complained.

At a press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced more stringent restrictions as COVID-19 cases are still very high.

He, however, placed no restrictions on markets, except to reinforce the importance of not congregating and complying with all the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.