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More stalls allowed to reopen on Cambridge market from March 17





More traders will be allowed to return to Cambridge market on Wednesday March 17, the city council has confirmed.

Stalls offering street food and hot drinks and other licensed retail businesses that are eligible to trade under current lockdown restrictions will be able to reopen, following a risk assessment.

Restrictions to promote social distancing are in place at Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell
Restrictions to promote social distancing are in place at Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell

Shoppers using the market need to wear face masks, and have been urged to move on quickly after finishing their shopping, to prevent crowding.

The whole market was closed on New Year’s Day due to concerns about over-crowding increasing the risk of spreading Covid-19.

The city council’s decision prompted thousands to sign a petition in protest. A partial reopening for some essential traders followed on January 18, with new restrictions, barriers and warning signs in place to encourage social distancing.

Traders complained earlier this month that Cambridge had the toughest restrictions for any outdoor market in the country, pointing out that fewer than half the stalls legally able to operate under current government rules had been allowed to reopen.

Some stalls were allowed to reopen on January 18. Picture: Keith Heppell
Some stalls were allowed to reopen on January 18. Picture: Keith Heppell

The city council said it had worked with Cambridgeshire County Council’s public health team, market trader representatives and health and safety specialists to assess the risks and put in place “management measures” to deal with them.

These include:

  • Locating high queue generating stalls on the outside of the market
  • Barriers and signage to support a one-way flow management system
  • More frequent cleaning of the market and individual business pitches
  • Managing vehicular access while the market is operational
  • Marshals to support safety measures, including queueing and social distancing

The council said the reopening would be monitored and “kept under continuous review”.

It stressed: “The national and local public health message is to continue to be cautious and only leave home for a very limited number of reasons, such as buying food and visiting a local park for fresh air and exercise.”

The government’s roadmap, which details the steps to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, suggests that non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen from April 12.

Shoppers must wear masks while shopping at the marke. Picture: Keith Heppell
Shoppers must wear masks while shopping at the marke. Picture: Keith Heppell

The city council said it would work on the further phased reopening of the market in consultation with the county’s director of public health.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive city councillor for climate change, environment and city centre, said: “Everyone will be happy to see the market open again for hot food and drink because it is at the centre of city life.

“The market provides valued goods and services and we have put in place measures to keep shoppers and traders safe. Keeping people safe will always be our top priority.

“While it is safer shopping outdoors, it is not risk free, so it is important that we act cautiously.

“We are still in lockdown so I would ask people coming to the market to do their shopping promptly and then make way for others. We have signage in place to help and our marshals will offer help and advice.

Julia Cox, a narket trader at Emerald Foods on Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell
Julia Cox, a narket trader at Emerald Foods on Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We will continue to support our market traders through this challenging period and have committed to continue our previously agreed ‘lockdown pitch rental fee waiver’ until at least March 31, 2021 and to make sure they have the chance to apply for business and community support packages offered by the government.”

Support available to business is detailed at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-for-businesses.

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