Car free day broadway market
Broadway Market on a Car Free Day in 2015. Photograph: Brenda Puech

Broadway Market is set to reopen to 50 market traders on Saturday, having been closed for public safety during the pandemic.

The area was the focus of widespread attention and concern over social distancing during lockdown, with Louise Brewood of the Association of Broadway Market Traders saying today that her message to anyone visiting is: “Queue, shop and go.”

All traders are understood to be working to a Covid-secure trading plan agreed with the council, with no hot food to prevent shoppers lingering in the area, but stalls selling designer fashion, homeware, gifts and fresh food produce will be seen in the market once again.

Brewood said: “The key here is a soft opening, as there are serious concerns about it being mobbed. We’ve been working very closely with the markets officers to get some sort of market up and running from day one.

“There are still ongoing problems with bars and restaurants flouting everything, which has made it very difficult to have a sensible opening. Broadway is very difficult compared to other sites, as logistically it has so many feeds into it and is so narrow.

“A lot of locals are very apprehensive about the market coming back, and against anything happening on Broadway as they’ve been suffering so much with the drinking culture and the lack of social distancing or respect for fellow human beings.

“The street trading is not the problem, it’s the crowds that come to stand around and drink is the problem. We’re not encouraging anyone to hang around – it’s queue, shop, and go.

“We want to provide local people with access to fresh produce and we want to support as many local market traders back into business, many of whom have fallen through the net and had no financial support from the government, to get back to some sort of normality and income for their families.”

Brewood, who is also calling on the council to provide portable toilets for traders to use rather than having to enter local businesses or public facilities, added that in her opinion the market should have been opened a month ago with a smaller number of stalls and then built up, rather than opening with 50, adding: “The layout that has been agreed is the best it’s going to get to be able to manage it.

“It’s probably been more popular during lockdown the area than out of it, and it is a serious commuter route, it has been on everybody’s exercising and walking routines, and it is a pathway to the Fields, so it’s a hard one.”

Broadway is the last of Hackney’s markets to reopen, due to its ability to attract large crowds on its narrow, short road, along with the amount of successful independent businesses on the street.

An empty stall is to be placed between each trader to help social distancing, with all customers encouraged to wear face masks, hand sanitiser available around the market, all workers in the market to complete daily forms declaring them fit to work and cashless payments encouraged.

A council-led initiative with Click It Local will allow people to shop online at the Broadway Virtual Market, which offers a local home delivery service or the option to collect purchases via a click and collect point just outside the market. For more information visit clickitlocal.co.uk/broadway-market.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for Hackney’s street markets said: “The council and traders have been working hard to reopen all of Hackney’s street markets making sure that we can all shop local and shop safe; it’s great to see that Broadway is now ready to go.

“As we all adjust to the coronavirus ‘new normal’ Hackney is determined to support the local community, reopen for business and do it safely.

“But it falls on all of us to be aware by remembering to keep your distance, wear a face mask and make sure that we regularly clean our hands. If we all make sure we shop safe, then the sooner all our street markets can fully reopen.”

You can visit Click it Local’s Broadway Virtual Market here. Traders include: Aequill, Artisan Foods, Chili and Ginger, Citron Vert, Climpson & Sons, Downland Produce, Elsie & George, German Deli, House of Buckley, Jackpot Peanut Butter, Karin Andreasson, Karmaqueen, La Bouche, Lucy Lynch Gifts, Maracuja Design, Meringue Girls, My Eco Order, Olive Oil Co, Pelican Story, Roxy’s Amazing Creations, S-Gerth, Shea Alchemy, Ted’s Veg, The Olive Oil Co.

You can also shop with Broadway Market traders at  broadwaymarket.co.uk/virtual-saturday-stalls.

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