SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - After a two-month shelter-in-place fueled hiatus, the San Jose Flea Market is back in operation.
“I think it’s great that they’re opening up. Because it gives us a chance to come out, enjoy the weather, and the prices can’t be beat,” said shopper Warren Smith. Added customer Maria Isidro, “It’s really nice coming back. Being able to enjoy a walk today. It’s a really nice sunny day also. So I’m happy to be back.”
Amid sun and mild temperatures Friday, shoppers roamed the 60-acre site, looking for deals on everything from food to clothing to jewelry. Most vendors say they’re glad to see the cash in hand crowd, after enduring a financial hardship since mid-March.
“It was kind of hard, you know, without income. We live from [this]. Iit was tough, these (past) two months,” said vendor Eddie Ganz. Another vendor said, “We’ve been waiting two months for this, to come back to business again.”
The market’s owner says all shoppers and vendors must wear face masks during operating hours Friday through Sunday. And social distancing protocols are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We want to limit the amount of cars that come into the flea market to 1,500. That way we can assure social distancing throughout the flea market,” said owner Brian Bumb.
Bumb’s father first opened this market in 1960. It has since grown to become the world’s largest open-air market. Social scientist Dr. Nenaji says this experience is deeper than just trying to get deeply discounted goods and services.
“These types of marketplaces have origins in modern-day Wall Street.” And so we have used these types of markets to develop our communities and develop our way of life,” said Jackson.
The flea market will have only half the usual number of vendors to start. But there are hopes, victory over the coronavirus will lead to a return to normal here, and within the larger society.