Indoor panto safe but outdoor food markets are not decrees Redbridge Council

south woodford trader

Traders at the South Woodford and Wanstead outdoor markets are wondering why Redbridge Council decided to cancel them while allowing some indoor activities to go forward. - Credit: Ace Events

Traders at the South Woodford and Wanstead outdoor markets are wondering why the council shut them down due to rising Covid-19 cases but is fine with some indoor activities such as panto.

Just 12 hours before the outdoor markets were set to open the council decided to cancel them.

It said it is restricting the operation of events it has control over to help bring the infection rates down but has allowed some indoor activities to go forward, such as the Kenneth More's panto, run by the council’s culture and leisure partner Vision RCL,  which opened last night (December 9).

On the same day the markets were closed the indoor Wanstead Local Makers Market went ahead at Christchurch hall. The council said it does not license or control markets which take place on private land.

Trader Jo Mayne was busy preparing hundreds of churros when the word came down that the outdoor market was cancelled.

churros stall

Jo Mayne who runs the churro stall said opening the market in the summer months saved her sanity but had to toss hundreds of stock she prepared after getting the go-ahead the market was approved before the reversal. - Credit: Ace Events

She told the Recorder: "Why us?  If all was well and approved, why cancel at such a late hour?"


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The market's organiser Ace Events got the initial go-ahead from the council on the Wednesday before it was set to open. Jo and the other traders ordered and prepared all their stock which then went to waste.

A Redbridge Council spokesperson said the decision to cancel the markets was not an easy one but it was taken to protect people to reduce the infection rate.

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“Our outdoor markets are popular and always attract large crowds. We feel for market traders, as they have had a terrible year.

"It can’t be easy for them as they struggle to make ends meet. With this in mind, we are working closely with market organisers to support stallholders as much as we can.”

safety measures at market

When the markets re-opened in the summer it was re-vamped to put in safety measures. - Credit: Ace Events

A spokesperson for Ace Events said that safety measures had been in place throughout the summer months when the market re-opened with traders wearing PPE, one-way systems in place and social distancing markers.

"I have no problem with them cancelling it if they gave proper notice.

hand sanitising stations

Hand sanitising stations at the outdoor markets. - Credit: Ace Events

"The cases didn't drastically change over two days and if they had told me beforehand then my traders would not have spent their money and time to prepare their goods.

"A few of my traders are really going to struggle for Christmas."

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