We have been living with a pandemic for a year, which has changed the lives of many of us. For us, this meant a significant reduction in inactivity, we had to learn to adapt quickly to an uncertain and ever-changing situation and most importantly not to give up. How did this turbulent year in the Old Market Hall look like?
Food markets "online"
However, with the arrival of the pandemic in March, the market remained closed to the public due to nationwide measures. We have canceled all spring events and Saturday food markets. At that time, no one knew how long the situation would last, and there were opinions that we would have peace after a few months. Autumn seemed like a time when everything was about to return to the old ways.
In the first place, it bothered us how to replace our marketplace with a lost outlet in the form of the then suspended markets. We were therefore looking for alternative ways to support them and restart the markets, at least in a limited way. At the end of March, in cooperation with selected marketers, we launched an online ordering system for packages. We delivered to customers within the team of the Old Market Hall and free of charge thanks to our partners Volkswagen Slovakia and Slovenská sporiteľňa. All the funds raised went directly to the marketers. We delivered a total of 1266 food packages to you from the end of March to June.
The market as a space for help
Despite the closed market, we continued our activities, which may not have been so visible at first sight.
In cooperation with the city of Bratislava, we have launched several assistance projects. The market was transformed into temporary storage of beds prepared, if necessary, for the quarantine center on Zlaté piesky. At the same time, we stored, prepared, and distributed aid packages in cooperation with the Kto pomôže Slovensku initiative.
We also provided our premises for the organization of meetings of city and regional councils in compliance with strict hygienic measures.
In the Lab.café workshop, we have produced protective shields using 3D printers and a laser cutter, which we then distributed to hospitals in Bratislava.
We are renewing Saturday's markets or the popular Street Food Park
With the arrival of the summer months, we have gradually, albeit in a limited mode, renewed food markets and services in the Old Market Hall. Since June, the popular street food market Street Food Park has been held, and once again we could invite you to tours of commonly inaccessible places Invisible Market.
During the summer, several events took place in the Old Market Hall, we could see each other at the Beer Salon, at the Bratislava Book Market, at Viva Musica! Concerts, or at the special premiere of the documentary film MEKY with the participation of the authors and the main protagonist of the singer Miro Žbirka.
Summer is ending, what's next?
After the summer relief, the pandemic began to pick up again, which caused further restrictions on the activities of not only the market but also the services themselves. We canceled events, including the regular Street Food Park, and food markets began to operate under even stricter hygiene measures.
At the turn of October and November, we provided the building of the Old Market Hall for the creation of sampling points as part of nationwide testing, but otherwise, the building was empty.
Unlike the spring, however, we at least had a well-preserved outlet for our marketers. But what about other small producers who relied on sales at various fairs or events? Somewhere, the idea of expanding the markets to other days of the week began to arise, so that we could provide space for other sellers as well.
The Christmas market gives a chance to more than 200 local brands
The pandemic crisis has shown us all the importance of supporting local brands and small producers. Therefore, we teamed up with the organizers of BRaK - Bratislava Book Festival, Bratislava Design Week, Humbuk and Urban Market, and during the pre-Christmas period, thanks to our main partner Slovenská sporiteľňa, we turned the market into a place where these local brands could sell their products. Over four weeks, you were able to support more than 200 retailers of local fashion, design, literature, and craft foods.
up! city ends
The consequences of the pandemic have also affected the functioning of operations in the market, which still operate in a limited mode through shop windows or delivery services, which, however, will never fully replace sales during normal operation.
One of the establishments that did not survive the pandemic and ended its activities at the end of April 2020 was the city project to support electromobility up! city. This cooperation with Volkswagen Slovakia also started the revitalization of the square in front of the market, which in 2017 changed from a shabby space to a pleasant one in 2017, which is currently a symbol of Bratislava residents spending free time not only during summer days.
Throughout the year, we proactively adapted to the ever-changing anti-pandemic measures, thanks to which we certainly added a lot of grays. Our priority has always been, and always will be, to make you feel safe in the Old Market Hall, so we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.
We regularly consult with RÚVZ BA on our operation. We have created a set of hygiene measures that we follow. We bought stands with disinfection and special thermometers, we also introduced regular disinfection of the premises. We always adjust the floor plan of the market according to current measures, as well as the maximum space capacity that we can observe thanks to the introduction of controlled entry. At the same time, there is a service present in the market, which oversees the observance of spacings or the correct wearing of protective equipment.
What will 2021 bring? Let's keep our fingers crossed!
We started the new year with big plans and a vision that the pandemic will soon pass. In addition to expanding the market with new marketers or preparing activities to celebrate the 111th anniversary of the Old Market Hall, we have started working on how to make the market even more accessible to you during the week.
However, the market remained empty in January, and for administrative reasons, we were unable to organize the markets. After a few weeks, they ran again, but still in a limited mode, with fewer marketers and no accompanying activities. That's how they work to this day. Except for summer, external shares did not return to the market after a year.
However, we believe that the announced relaxation of measures will bring relief and things will gradually return to normal. We can't wait to see you again during Saturday's markets for lunch in the Community kitchen, for a tasting of local wine, or your children for a children's theater. We are looking forward to bringing food trucks to the square and tasting street food, or opening the gates of the market and enjoying a good concert or theater together.
Thank you for maintaining your favor during this challenging pandemic year, going to markets, supporting our marketers, buying local products, and visiting our facilities. Let's keep our fingers crossed!