Coronavirus: Islington outdoor markets reopen as traders urge people to shirk supermarkets

Chapel Market.Picture:Ken Mears

Chapel Market.Picture:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Chair of the Chapel Market Traders Association David Twydell, next to his fruit and veg stall. Pictu

Chair of the Chapel Market Traders Association David Twydell, next to his fruit and veg stall. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Outdoor markets can open in Islington from Monday June 1 – and traders say they’re safer than supermarkets.

Islington Council has gradually allowed essential food stalls to reopen since May 9, coinciding with the easing of lockdown measures.

But people selling “flowers, books, crafts, and fashion” are now once again allowed to trade.

David Twydell, chairman of the Chapel Market stallholders association, told the Gazette: “It’s good, a breath of fresh air – it’s what a lot of people have been waiting for.

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“We believe it’s the hub of our community, always has been, always will be. It has been horrible and upsetting to see its stillness, it’s part of us and we want it back.

“Hopefully people realise now it’s a fine place to come, give us a chance. It’s a healthier environment. If you want to queue up outside supermarkets, fine, but as soon as you get inside it’s a free-for-all again. Come outside, the weather is lovely so have a stroll up our street and enjoy.”

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But David, whose popular fruit and veg stall has already been open for a couple of weeks, fears many food traders won’t return yet because their main clientele is office workers – and many are still working from home.

All street Islington street markets were closed from April 3 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Islington’s business chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “We are working really well with traders to make sure they open safely. We have drafted guidelines that map out the details and we would urge people to adhere to social distancing rules. It’s really important to get fresh fruit and veg and we want to support market traders during this public health crisis.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Outdoor markets selling flowers, books, crafts, and fashion can start trading again, marking a major milestone in our plan to kickstart the economy.

“If the scientific and medical advice allows, the next steps will be to reopen non-essential retail in mid-June, and then hospitality and leisure in early July, so these sectors can start trading again.”

The governments claims it’s safe to reopen because the transmission of coronavirus is lower outdoors.

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