Swap meet season back in effect, might be a safer form of shopping

Shopping is starting to open up again in the Central Valley after ten weeks of coronavirus closures.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Shopping is starting to open up again in the Central Valley after ten weeks of coronavirus closures.

All of it comes with new safeguards, but owners at swap meets think their form of shopping could be safest.

A cart of goodies carried away Friday morning is one of the first purchases from the reopened Sunnyside Swap Meet in east central Fresno.

"It's a good deal," said the woman with the cart. "It's so much fun. I love it!"

The swap meet shut down in March, just as the weather turned nice and the selling season started to pick up.

"We're super excited to be here," said swap meet owner Bryan Parisi. "Everybody's happy to be together again, our swap meet family."

Parisi says the Friday turnout was small, like he expected, as people ease back into their usual activities.

But he's hopeful they'll be comfortable enough to come out, especially if they can see proof it's safe.

"We have a lot of room out here so it's a safe environment, a safe shopping environment," Parisi said. "We think it's a lot safer than being inside of a store."

Scientists say the coronavirus spreads more easily indoors than outside.

But it can still spread outdoors, so the swap meet is keeping vendors spaced apart for social distancing.

They added hand washing stations and hand sanitizing stations, and they posted signs reminding people to keep giving everyone space.

They also only set up about 25% of their seating in the food court to keep people distanced.

And they're recommending people wear masks, and at least one first time seller could help anyone who doesn't have one.

Markets in Atwater and Merced are requiring everyone wear masks as they reopen this weekend.

Alma's Flea Market in Hanford opened this week with similar safety measures and free coronavirus testing.

But the bottom line is - face it, swap meet season is back in effect.

"I'm happy," one shopper told Action News. "Something to do. And you know, get some exercise."

He's a frequent flyer at swap meets, but says he stayed away from crowds for ten weeks. Now, he's ready to dive back in for good deals.

And maybe some pandemic survival supplies - like a little toilet paper, some gloves, or industrial size hand sanitizer.

Sunnyside's first weekend back has it all.
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