The plenary session of the Central district this Wednesday debates the possible return of the Rastro to normality; that is to say, that one hundred percent of the street stalls – a thousand – that were set up in this market before the pandemic be installed again.
With the arrival of COVID-19, the Rastro saw its activity interrupted for eight months and on its return, in November 2020, for health security reasons, the authorities only allowed each edition to have half of the usual sellers, which since then they have participated in it every other week.
The municipal groups Más Madrid and PSOE are now taking a proposal to the plenary session of the Center urging the elimination of this restriction on the number of sellers on the Rastro which, if successful, would regain its traditional size and location. Thus they reflect the feelings of the merchants of this market, who already last June presented in the district meeting, by registry, an identical proposal that was rejected by the authorities.
Both formations consider that the necessary conditions are currently in place for a safe return of all vendors and urge “the competent body to carry out the studies and take the pertinent measures that allow the installation of 100% of the posts in El Rastro de Madrid Sundays and holidays, in their locations prior to the start of the pandemic, throughout the month of September with all the security guarantees for merchants and visitors. ”
“Street commerce is the smallest of shops and the most helpless”
Mayka Torralbo, vice president and spokesperson for the largest association of sellers in El Rastro, The Trail Point Is, which brings together 70% of the market stalls, expresses that it is anxious for the entire market stalls to return to their historic locations.
“The proposal that Más Madrid and PSOE bring to the district plenary session responds to our requests. It has been two months since we requested it and it was denied. Now, with the good evolution of the data on the pandemic, 70% of the population over 12 years of age with the double vaccination schedule in place and with the responsibility that we have shown when taking the appropriate hygienic measures to take care of ourselves and those who visit us – mandatory mask, hydroalcoholic gels -, it is time to insist again “, concludes Torralbo.
“El Rastro de Madrid was closed for eight months, more than any other open-air market in Spain, after many protests and demonstrations we managed to get this city council to accept that we return to the streets with 50% of the vendors, a proposal that was ours since the beginning of the negotiations. Since then everything has gone well, without outbreaks, with reduced capacity and without more crowds than those that usually occur on the sidewalks, as a result of the placement of the fences that the city council does, when theirs would be close accesses with them to control the total number of people entering the area but not separate the vendors’ stalls from the passage of people on the sidewalks; it is time to regain normalcy, even with masks and preventive measures. ”
What happens in the full Center will accelerate or pause the return of a full Trail. On whether the joint proposal of Más Madrid and PSOE will prosper Mayka Torralbo does not have them all with her: “The district officials have never made it easy for us, so they may surprise us. Just two months ago they rejected the proposal we made, identical to the one that is going to vote now. We will see, but we could return all the vendors safely for us and for our visitors with the public capacity allowed by the regulations and guaranteeing a better fluidity in the area “.
“At El Rastro we are a thousand job holders and being every market day half of us get 12 hours worked a month. With that it has been very difficult to resist and many colleagues, unprotected and without help, have even been evicted from their homes Street commerce is the smallest of businesses and also the most helpless. ”
Mayka assures that the public also wishes the return of all the vendors: “We are very grateful to the citizens of Madrid and, for months now, also to tourists from other territories. They are very loyal to the Rastro and have not stopped supporting us. , although the pandemic has lowered the purchasing power of those who visit us. We want to be able to return completely, taking care of ourselves and taking care of them. It is possible to do so. ”