Coronavirus: Islington Council to allow some ‘essential’ market stalls to reopen this weekend as part of phased reintroduction of street trading

Chapel Market.Picture:Ken Mears

Chapel Market.Picture:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Islington Council is allowing a handful of market stalls to reopen for business this weekend, to test whether new guidelines on social distancing can keep shoppers and workers safe.

The council says the first wave of essential food traders will open for business across the borough on Saturday, May 9.

These include fruit and veg seller Gulbahar Zaki in Story Street off Caledonian Road, Hani Kharroubi fishmonger in Angel’s Chapel Market, and fruit and veg sellers Cam and Keith outside The Enkel Arms in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway Nag’s Head.

All traders have been issued with clear instructions on how to operate social distancing at market stalls, which they have agreed to follow.

The council will use these guidelines as the basis for a phased reintroduction of street trading, as and when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

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The guidelines will be kept under constant review and updated where necessary in order to ensure that stallholders and shoppers can all stay safe.

If the measures prove successful, the council will engage with other traders and help pave the way for the return of more stalls in due course.

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The council is in conversation with Islington Farmers Market, and other stall holders in our street markets who sell essential items, about when they may also be able to resume trading.

Islington’s business chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “Our street markets are hugely popular, and the lifeblood of Islington where people know they can find affordable, fresh food and all the essentials. It was a difficult decision to suspend street trading on safety grounds, but it was the right one in the circumstances.

“But now, as the situation has developed, we’ve been able to draw up new guidelines that will allow traders selling essential food and other goods to reopen, while ensuring their stalls and their working practices do not endanger anyone’s health.

“Naturally we are very keen to see our ever-popular market traders return, and we’re working with them through these difficult times – but we all agree that this has to be done right. It cannot be rushed, as we must ensure that the guidelines are effective.”

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green, Highbury East) said she was pleased by the decision. She told the Gazette: “I’m so glad the council has reviewed their initial decision to close down all market stalls.

“These small businesses are crucial for a thriving local economy and provide much needed affordable fruit veg and other food.

“The government advice allows market stalls and if local shops can trade safely with social distancing then it has to be possible to do it from a street stall too.”

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