Wanstead farmers market stays open during coronavirus social distancing
PUBLISHED: 18:28 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:34 07 April 2020
Despite the coronavirus lockdown the Wanstead farmers market went ahead yesterday and was only shut down an hour before closing.
The current government guidance is that people should only go out for essential necessities, and since the market, which was licensed by the council, was selling food it was allowed to stay open.
Cllr Jas Athwal sent enforcement officers to the market after being alerted about it on Twitter.
At 11.30am the police arrived but did not intervene because the market was quiet and people were complying with social distancing rules.
The enforcement team convinced some stallholders to voluntarily pack up and by 2pm, one hour before it would have closed on a normal day, the market was shut.
Resident Jack Edwards, who was surprised to see the market open at all, said: “I didn’t think it was very safe to be unnecessarily crowding the high street with stalls when people are already trying to keep their distance from each other.”
The leader of the Redbridge Conservative Group Cllr Linda Huggett said it was very worrying the market was open in the first place.
In a letter to the chief executive of the council she said: “Even though the farmers market was eventually closed this did not happen until 2pm and Wanstead park was still crowded which meant that everyone was still exposed to a greater risk of getting the coronavirus.
“I sincerely hope that this does not occur again.
“As a council we must all remain vigilant to ensure that any future events like this don’t go ahead until the pandemic is over.”
A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: “The provider has been advised that no further markets will be permitted during the current Covid-19 restrictions.”
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