Is there any industry still untouched by COVID? Maybe, but unfortunately, the Flea Market industry isn’t one of them, just like most businesses, markets have been hit hard by this epidemic. Even those markets sprawled out in fields, you know, those hidden gems that locals love to populate on lazy Sunday afternoons – yup those too.
A successful market is a crowded market and that’s a big problem in 2020. With this in mind, many states have enacted executive orders preventing markets from even operating. If you are lucky enough to reside in a state allowing markets to operate, they do so only when certain conditions are met. These can include limits on market capacity, required face masks, social distancing, and limits on vendor booths. Although the restrictions are necessary and important, these restrictions have taken a toll on the whole Flea Market experience. People attend markets to socialize, browse, shop, enjoy carnival like treats and most importantly RELAX. The experience has become stressful and fearful, as a result, market attendance is at an all time low.
Flea Markets have been effectively placed into a holding pattern and the really scary thing is that there seems to be no end in sight. So many of these markets will not recover, markets that have operated for decades, they have become landmarks woven into childhood after childhood. Markets struggling to stay alive are having difficulty enforcing the required restrictions and face fines or even closure for failing. More progressive markets are experimenting with online auctions and virtual opportunities, it’s great to see a success story but it’s painfully obvious that there are few of those.
The industry will simply have to wait it out, back to the same holding pattern looking forward to the sunny days when crowds can gather in mass without worrying about contracting something that may kill them.
Markets are truly wonderful places to enjoy family, culture, food, and community. We have so many friends in this wonderful industry, we are thinking of you and your families and hope you can hang in there.