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Cambridge market to close from New Year’s Day to reduce spread of coronavirus

Cambridge market will be closed from New Year’s Day.

Cambridge market will be temporarily shut from January 1. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge market will be temporarily shut from January 1. Picture: Keith Heppell

The city council has taken the decision to temporarily close the market to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, in discussion with public health partners.

Despite the city being in Tier 4 and the stay at home regulations, large crowds were seen gathering in and around the market square and also congregating in nearby areas such as King’s Parade.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre, said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly but it is clear that we have a rapidly rising rate of coronavirus cases in Cambridge, especially in working-age adults and children, and we need people to act now to keep themselves and keep their loved ones safe.

“Tier 4 includes a stay at home order but what we are seeing in the city centre is a lot of people coming out not just for essential shopping, but to visit the city, buy takeaway food, and mingle in crowded spaces.

“Our public health partners are clear that while outdoor spaces are generally safer than indoor spaces, crowded outdoor locations, where people can’t socially distance, also help the virus to spread.

“We need to ensure people can maintain a safe two-metre distance from one another and when the market square is busy that is not possible.

“We strongly encourage people to shop locally wherever they can and visit the city centre only if they need to.

“We are aware that this is very difficult for market traders who rely on their stalls for their livelihood. We will work with them to offer support and we will reopen the market as soon as we are confident that it is safe to do so.”

The market will be closed from Friday, January 1 until further notice.

Val Thomas, deputy director of Public Health, said: “Cases of the virus are spreading rapidly through Cambridge with increased incidence in people of working age and outbreaks in a range of settings.

“This means it is really important that we act to keep people’s contact with anyone outside their household /support bubble to the absolute minimum.

“It is contact with other people which spreads the virus and that includes crowded outdoor locations where people can’t easily stay two metres apart.

“My message to Cambridge residents is to stay home and reduce their contact with people outside for their household or support bubble. As ever, people should make sure rooms are well ventilated and follow ‘hands, face, space’ rules.”

The city council is urging anyone who may need help or advice during the Tier 4 stay at home coronavirus restrictions to visit its website cambridge.gov.uk.

Cllr Moore added: “We are acutely aware that the Tier 4 restrictions which require us to stay at home will be very difficult for some people.

“I encourage anyone who needs help to ask for it, whether that’s help with food, finances, their mental health or something else.

“While we don’t know how long we will be in Tier 4, we can be sure that we can all play our part by following the rules. That is the best way to stop the virus spreading and stop the pressure mounting on our NHS.

“The council continues to focus its efforts on helping people who are most vulnerable, directly through our own services, as well as through the superb hub network of voluntary groups which are doing such brilliant work in all parts of the city.”

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