Representatives of Taipei’s traditional markets yesterday called on the central government to introduce more comprehensive relief measures for vendors to alleviate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has caused revenues at traditional markets to fall by an average of about 20 to 40 percent, Muxing Market (木新市場) representative Liu Su-chin (劉素琴) said at a news conference held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) at its headquarters in Taipei.
Among the vendors at traditional markets, food and beverage stalls have lost the most revenue, Liu said.
Photo: Shih Hsiao-kuang, Taipei Times
Although traditional markets have been included in the places where the government’s stimulus vouchers can be used, the vouchers would not be distributed until after the pandemic ends, Dongsanshui Street Market (東三水街市場) representative Hsiao Ming-hung (蕭銘宏) said.
The situation continues to worsen and it is unknown when it would end, he said, adding that traditional market vendors are having a tough time surviving.
Chenggong Market (成功市場) representative Chen Chung-ming (陳中明) said that although the government plans on giving people NT$800 in stimulus vouchers, they would be issued as NT$200 vouchers to be spent in four categories of businesses.
Chen said that NT$200 is too small a sum for each category.
Moreover, vendors and consumers at traditional markets tend to be older, and have fewer opportunities to use the vouchers, he said.
To encourage people to visit traditional markets, Xining Market (西寧市場) representative Chuo Wen-shui (卓文水) said the government should subsidize the costs of the supplies and personnel needed to disinfect and clean their premises.
Chuang Chih-tsung (莊志宗), a representative from a national association of traditional markets, said that people not wearing masks when entering some markets could be fined NT$30,000 to NT$60,000.
However, the Taipei City Government said it would not fine people.
The new rule would discourage people from shopping at traditional markets, he said.
He urged the government to subsidize traditional markets’ purchase of prevention equipment such as infrared body temperature sensors.
Like taxi drivers and self-employed workers, traditional market vendors should be eligible for NT$10,000 in subsidies per month for up to three months, association chairwoman Pan Ai-yu (潘愛玉) said.
There are 833 traditional markets across Taiwan, with 73,959 vendors, Pan said.
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