The market was first closed early on 7 November because of overcrowding.
Photograph: a local resident

Hackney Council says it has been left with “no option” but to close Broadway Market this weekend on public safety grounds after it was again forced to shut it down early last Sunday because of “severe overcrowding”.

It is the second time in three weeks that traders at the famous street market have had to wrap up prematurely as a result of “large numbers of visitors collecting takeaway food and alcohol from nearby shops”.

This is despite only a small number of stalls, none of which are licensed to sell alcohol, being open as part of efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19 along the narrow road.

The Town Hall’s inclusive economy boss Cllr Guy Nicholson said: “Only a fraction of the usual Broadway Market stalls were open last weekend in line with the council’s Covid-secure street markets plan, however large numbers of visitors collecting takeaway food and alcohol from some nearby shops led to severe overcrowding along the street, which meant we were forced to close the market early on Sunday.

He added: “On behalf of the council, I would like to thank all stallholders for their cooperation and hard work in making sure the street market is safe for customers and traders alike but, sadly, we are left with no option but to close the market this weekend on the grounds of public safety and containing the Covid-19 virus.

“It is disappointing that we have been forced to take this step, which is solely down to the numbers of people wanting to visit what is a small narrow street which means that social distancing is impossible to ensure.”

The council has no power to enforce social distancing, but its officers, along with the police, will continue to be deployed to the street. 

Town Hall licensing officers will also continue to ensure shops on the street are trading in line with the national Covid rules, which only permit the sale of takeaway alcohol if it is pre-ordered.

Community safety chief Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas said: “We would urge visitors to Broadway Market to follow the government’s coronavirus guidance and help protect others from infection: stay at home, do not gather with those you do not live with and ensure you’re always two metres apart from those not in your household.”

Representatives of one of Broadway Market’s traders’ associations told the Citizen of their distress following the first early closure of the market on 7 November.