The number of stalls will be reduced in order to facilitate social distancing.HOBBESNBLUE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Cambridge City Council have announced that Cambridge Market will reopen next Monday (18/01). 

The market has been closed by the City Council since 1st January in response to concerns about “the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 in overcrowded outdoor spaces” and large numbers of people gathering in the city centre despite “stay at home” regulations. 

Councillors have confirmed that “plans are almost complete for reopening”, with the new COVID safety measures, layout and risk assessment to be discussed first with public health authorities and then market stallholders before the market can reopen.  

In order to reopen safely, new measures will be put in place, including a reduction in the number of stalls and priority for those “focusing on the essentials, particularly food”. 

Cllr. Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for the City Centre, explained that the safe reopening of the market required “careful planning” and “consultation” in order to work out the “fairest way for allocating pitches”. 

Moore also said that “everyone in Cambridge will be glad to see the market reopen next Monday. It’s the heart of our city centre providing a living for traders as well as good food for Cambridge residents”. 

However, Cllr. Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, highlighted the danger still posed by COVID-19, stating that “keeping Cambridge safe is and has to be our priority” and encouraged people to wear masks in “busier outdoor spaces” like the market. 

Herbert emphasised that “infection rates have sadly been rising rapidly in Cambridge since Christmas because the new variant of coronavirus is over 50% more transmissible."


Mountain View

Petition opposes Council’s decision to close Cambridge Market

He added that while “lots of people feel safer shopping outdoors … it isn’t risk free”, and referred to UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty’s recent comments concerning the serious transmission risk of not replanning outdoor markets to avoid “people crowded together in a queue outdoors … [or] huddled around a market stall”. 

When the market closure was announced two weeks ago it was met with outrage and dismay from locals and stallholders alike. One petition to “re-open Cambridge Market for essential food supplies” was signed by over 7000 people and highlighted concerns about stallholders' livelihoods as well as the loss of shopping outside as a “safer” alternative to indoor shops. 

This comes as the weekly total of COVID-19 cases in Cambridgeshire reached 4,235 for the week to 7th January - an increase of 11% on the previous week.