Cambridgeshire markets take a hit after Covid-19 Tier 4 announcement
- Credit: Facebook/Ely Markets
Markets across the county have changed which stall holders are allowed to trade following the Government’s Tier 4 coronavirus announcement.
The region plummeted into tougher restrictions on Boxing Day after a rise in Covid-19 cases, forcing all non-essential businesses to close.
Over in Cambridge, the city council made the decision to temporarily close their market “to reduce the spread of coronavirus”.
Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire, said: “COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise across England.
“Including in Cambridge city where rates are now more than four times higher than in early December and we are seeing increasing pressures on our NHS.
“One in three people with the virus will not show any symptoms – which makes it very easy to pass it on to others.”
In Ely, markets still continue but only stallholders selling essential goods – including bread, eggs, fruit and veg, plants and some takeaway food – are allowed to trade.
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In Wisbech, the town council has issued guidance to traders as they also continue to operate markets – allowing both essential and non-essential goods.
Those offering non-essential goods must also sell an even balance of essential goods, these include hardware supplies, food and drink, bicycles and facemasks.
A spokesperson for Wisbech Town Council said: “Traders who sell a mixture of essential and non-essential goods are permitted to sell both sets of goods, providing that there is a reasonable balance in the quantities of each category.
“In the absence of a more specific definition of ‘reasonable’, the approach being taken by the council is that no less than 50 per cent of a trader's items for sale need to be those from the essential items list.
“They must have been part of the trader's product range as at midnight on December 25; when the Tier 4 restrictions took effect.
“For example, a trader who sells jewellery (which the Government does not deem to be an essential purchase) cannot simply begin selling also a small number of essential items (such as face masks or toilet rolls) to qualify as the trader of essential items.
“Car boot sales, whatever items are being sold, do not qualify as essential retail. Consequently, the council will not be operating that activity until further notice.”
The list of items Wisbech Town Council deem essential:
- Food and grocery (including confectionary and any types of drink); "catering stalls" can operate on the basis of take-away only
- Household goods (including cleaning products, sanitary products, baby products (but NOT clothing), homewares and home furnishings)
- Hardware supplies (including tools, DIY products, key cutting and batteries for household items)
- Repair services (including mobile phones and shoes)
- Bicycles (including parts and repair services)
- Pet supplies
- Plants (including shrubs and horticultural items but NOT flowers)
- Face coverings
Dr Robin added: “People living in Tier 4 areas should stay at home as much as possible, only mix with those we live with all the time, wash or sanitise our hands well and often and stay in well ventilated places.
“If we go out for essential reasons like work, food shopping, education or worship we must keep at least two metres away from anyone we don’t live with and wear a mask where this is required.
“Although the risk of transmission of the infection is lower outside, it is still there and the risk is increased in areas where it is more difficult to avoid or control overcrowding or queuing.
“Stopping this virus is not easy and is not dependent on one factor.
“It is essential that we use all the opportunities that we have to decrease the risk, which is challenging after many months of living with the pandemic.”
Fenland District Council has been approached for a comment regarding the future of markets in the Fens.