SAN ANTONIO – As Texas moves to reopen its economy, there has been some confusion between what businesses can start operating.
Traders Village San Antonio found itself in the middle of the confusion after Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcements to allow for the reopening of certain businesses last week.
Rudy Escamilla, general manager of Traders Village San Antonio, said they had announced the location would reopen last week, but then city officials notified them that they wouldn't be allowed to do that.
Other flea markets in Texas that opened this past weekend include Traders Village Grand Prairie and Traders Village Houston.
Ken Hinz, general manager of Traders Village Houston, said the market is located outside Houston city limits in the unincorporated area of Harris County.
Hinz said Harris County sent out two officers to inspect them, and they were approved to open.
The mayor of San Antonio addressed why the flea markets could not open during Monday's daily COVID-19 briefing.
“We had the attorneys here the other night because questions were coming in about Traders Village and other flea markets, and as we’ve stated, unless the business is expressly listed as a 'reopen business' or an 'essential business' within the governor's order, the governor retains the right to open or close that business,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management’s website explains the definitions of essential services and reopened services. Business owners can also fill out their information on the site and request that their business be designated essential by the state.
A spokesperson for the Texas Division of Emergency Management sent KSAT the following statement regarding flea markets:
“Flea Markets are a type of shopping mall. Shopping malls are currently able to operate as a ‘reopened service’ under Texas Executive Order GA-18. At this time, shopping malls are allowed to operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the shopping mall; provided, however, that within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.
As provided in Executive Order GA-18, when providing or obtaining 'reopened services,' people and businesses should follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, and should implement social distancing, work from home if possible, and practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation. This includes following guidance from the President and the CDC, so long as that guidance is not inconsistent with the DSHS standards.”
Tim Anderson, president of Traders Village Marketplaces, sent KSAT the following statement before airtime on Tuesday:
“Traders Village is very excited to learn from KSAT news that the State of Texas Emergency Management office has confirmed what we already knew. Traders Village is a retail operation that is allowed to reopen under the Governor’s 25 percent guidelines. We will work to confirm this information and the details so that Traders Village can re-open this weekend . We are excited to get over 500 small business owners back to work.”
KSAT reached out to the city of San Antonio and received the following statement from a spokesperson:
“If we get direction from TDEM we will follow it.”
The spokesman also said if the flea market opens, it will have to follow social distancing and capacity requirements outlined in the governor’s order.