The Chronicle

Traders’ joy as mar­ket re­opens on the Quay­side

- By DANIEL HOL­LAND Local democ­racy re­porter daniel.hol­land@ncj­me­dia.co.uk City of Durham · Newcastle, WA

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.”

 ?? IAIN BUIST ?? The Quay­side Mar­ket will re­turn in De­cem­ber
IAIN BUIST The Quay­side Mar­ket will re­turn in De­cem­ber

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