Traders’ joy as market reopens on the Quayside
NEWCASTLE’S popular Quayside Market will make its long-awaited return in the run-up to Christmas.
City council bosses have confirmed the much-loved market, which has been off the schedule since the North East’s first local lockdown measures were imposed on September 18, will be back in December - and will trade on Saturdays as well as its usual Sunday slot.
When its closure was announced in September, much to the dismay of stallholders, Newcastle City Council claimed it was “not possible to ensure Covid-secure protocols” at the outdoor market.
Traders launched a petition opposing the closure, arguing there was “no justified explanation” to abandon the weekly event.
Officials now say they have put in place “the necessary safety measures” to reopen the market in time for the festive season.
The Quayside Market will open between 9.00 and 4.00 on all weekends in the run up to Christmas - December 5 and 6, 12 and 13, and 19 and 20.
Everyone who visits the market will need to socially distance and security marshals will disperse people into the wider Quayside area if crowds start gathering.
The council has urged people to wear face masks and make use of hand sanitiser stations but warned a breach of Covid safety protocols could lead to the market being shut down “at short notice if necessary”.
The North East has been placed in Tier Three of the government’s local Covid restrictions from December 2, the highest alert level.
While pubs, bars, and restaurants must remain shut, non-essential retail is able to reopen again.
Leslie Armstrong, whose Scented
Melts stall trades at both the Quayside Market and Grainger Market, said she was “over the moon” with the news after being informed yesterday afternoon.
She added: “To get to trade every weekend until Christmas is huge, it is an early Christmas present for me.
“I was not expecting this at all, not with the way things have gone this year.”
Fellow trader Poppy Solari, who started the petition to bring back the market in September, added it was “massive” for independent traders to be allowed to return in the weekends before Christmas - even though her Durham Vintage stall will not be able to come back due to space restrictions.
She said: “I am ecstatic for the other traders. This is our peak trading time, this is when we make the money, so to have it back and to have extra days too is brilliant for everyone.”
Eugene Milne, the city’s director of public health, said the council believed in September it could not safely marshal the market but was now more confident about that.
He added the council was conscious of a potential “imbalance” between other shops reopening post-lockdown and an outdoor market not being allowed to.
Coun Ged Bell, the local authority’s cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “I am delighted the Quayside Market is again reopening in the run up to Christmas but would like to stress how important it is that everyone who visits follows the guidelines so it can remain open.
“We must all work together to make sure the infection rates continue to fall and we can begin to start getting life back on track.
“The market is home to many small independent traders who are the lifeblood of this city so its re-opening should go some way to help them after what has been an incredibly difficult year.”