LOOK: first pictures of Ipswich Market since start of lockdown
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Market reopened today, with three traders retuning to the town centre during the coronavirus lockdown.
Customers could be seen carefully spaced out in Princes Street on Friday morning, with new floor markings showing shoppers how far apart to stand.
Traders on three stalls served customers with their familiar cheery patter, now wearing gloves to handle all of their produce and keeping a safe distance from others working on their stall.
Mike Young of Young’s Fish said: “I’ve been down there this morning to make sure all our measures are in place and we’re very busy, people have been starved of fish for weeks.
“We’ve put tape and cones in place for social distancing. A council official checked it when we got there and they were very pleased with what we’ve done.
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“We understand this is a trial for Friday and Saturday but we hope the market will return.
“We have had to move into home deliveries as well and we start next week - the phone has not stopped ringing and we have already had 40-odd orders for next Wednesday.”
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A spokesman for Ipswich council said the market would only be operating on Fridays and Saturday at present – and strict social distancing rules will be applied.
Ipswich Central chief executive, Paul Clement, said: “I think it’s brilliant that people in the town are able to buy fresh produce at the market again and we fully support the council’s decision to open the market again.
“Ipswich Central has been working throughout the lockdown – our street rangers have been in the town all but one week for safety training – and we are working with the council on the next stages to get the town open in a safe way again.”
Mr Clement had high hopes for the market’s future at the start of the lockdown, even suggesting that a home-delivery system could be a way forward for traders trying to keep business afloat.
One business, the Brown Bread Company, did launch a delivery service and intend to continue even after they return to their market stall.
He added: “Some of the independent traders have been streets ahead of the bigger businesses in the town and started operating in a different way.
“It goes to show things can be done differently and I hope these new practices continue when this is over.
“Ipswich Central is putting all it’s effort into getting reliable information out to the public about what is opening and when, but every step we take will be done while keeping people safe.”
However, when the return of the market was announced on April 28, some members of the public reacted angrily and pointed to the difficulties in observing safe lockdown measures in a market environment.
One comment read: “Given the need for social distancing, wouldn’t it be a good idea to return the market stalls to the Cornhill where there’s more space available for people to keep their distance?”
Another added: “Who on earth is responsible for allowing this to happen when people are still dying in their hundreds?
“Someone please show some respect and cancel this lunacy.”