With gatherings of 50 of more now prohibited in all of Johnson County because of COVID-19, patrons of the bi-annual Antique Alley Texas are wondering if they’ll get their shopping fix this April.
Since first opening in 1999, the 30-mile community sale that spans across Grandview, Sand Flat, Cleburne, Alvarado, Venus, Maypearl and Waxahachie is where shoppers can walk away with deals on antiques, refurbished furniture, oddities and homemade baked goods.
Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon’s disaster declaration states that all public or private events with anticipated cumulative attendance of 50 or more people for the entire event — inside or outside — is prohibited.
“If you’ve got a garage sale and you’ve got more than 50 people that will come during the day you shouldn’t be open because you will be in violation of this order,” Harmon said. “I think that 50 people coming and going throughout the day is going to exceed that pretty quick. Antique Alley — as Antique Alley — is probably not going to operate.”
AAT co-event organizer Lisa Hill said everyone involved is more than happy to comply with county and city officials, but she does not foresee the spring show — which is set for April 17-19 — being cancelled.
“We want to do everything we can under our leadership to protect our citizens,” she said. “We are choosing to take a positive attitude and encourage our shoppers and sellers to think outside the box because that is the American way. We have to survive. We have to eat and pay the bills. But we need to follow our officials and be safe.
“In 21 years, we have never cancelled Antique Alley. But it is going to be very, very different than what it has been in the past. I think a lot of our small business owners will be selling online. People will be reaching out through Facebook, Instagram, Ebay and Etsy stores to reinvent ways to make this happen as we get through this pandemic.”
Harmon said online shopping being an option will help the local economy take a less harder hit.
“There is no way this won’t impact the economy; we are limiting how people will be able to do business,” he said. “I would encourage people to shop online. That, by far, is the safest and most prudent way to do this right now. That way you don’t have direct contact on a face-to-face basis with someone that might have COVID-19.”
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain expressed similar sentiments.
“Like the impact on our businesses and the loss of jobs by many families within our community, the loss of Antique Alley will hurt our economy,” he said. “I am asking our leaders from the president to the governor, our county judges and local officials to consider the economic impact of our decisions. I am not asking them to elevate dollars over lives, but we all need to maintain a level head and think things through carefully. The reaction to COVID-19 has taken on a life of its own.”
Harmon has always been a longtime praiser of Antique Alley.
“This shall all pass,” he said. “We just want people to use good common sense and we will all get through this horrible disease.”
For AAT updates, visit antiquealleytexas.com.