Additional measures will be put in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 with the reopening of the market Bill Hails / Flickr

The Cambridge City Council announced yesterday (12/03) that the Cambridge Market will reopen on 17 March for “street food, hot drinks and all other licensed retail businesses,” after being closed since the beginning of the third lockdown at the start of this year.

This follows the initial phase of the market reopening which allowed for “fresh food and produce, plants and cycle services” to resume operations from 18 January. All other businesses were not allowed to reopen, with the Cambridge City Council citing national lockdown restrictions and the potential attraction of crowds that would increase the spread of Covid-19 as reasons.

The previous decision to close essential food stalls due to fear of overcrowding was met by significant backlash from store owners and the public. An online petition was launched, putting forth that it was safer to purchase food outdoors, demanding for the Cambridge City Council to reverse their decision. Food stall owners expressed concerns over the negative impacts on businesses, as well as outrage over the lack of consultation of the Cambridge City Council in coming to a decision.

The Cambridge City Council has been working closely with the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Public Health team, representatives of the Cambridge Market, as well as health and safety experts in curating a market reopening plan. During this process, the risk of reopening was evaluated and mitigation measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19: complying with the lockdown regulations and requirements for the reopening of businesses, social distancing and the frequent sanitation of surfaces will be enforced.

In addition to these guidelines, the Cambridge City Council has also put in place additional measures, including relocating stalls that attract long queues to outside of the market with more space, putting up barriers and signs to facilitate a one-way system, and having marshals to ensure adherence to these rules.

This decision is in light of the decreasing infection rates within Cambridge. However, the Cambridge City Council warned that visitors should adhere with national and local health advisories, continuing to be “cautious and only leave home for a very limited number of reasons, such as buying food and visiting a local park for fresh air and exercise.”

Additionally, visitors are also urged to go about their activities in the market as quickly as possible and wear a face mask while doing so.

Cllr Rosy Moore, the Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “We are still in lockdown so I would ask people coming to the market to do their shopping promptly and then make way for others. We have signage in place to help and our marshals will offer help and advice.”


Mountain View

Petition opposes Council’s decision to close Cambridge Market

The reopening of the market is “being monitored and kept under continuous review,” with future plans made for “further phased reopening” until the market is back to its normal operations. These plans will be produced in line with the nationwide four-step lockdown roadmap and alongside consultation with the Director of Public Health.

With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, other businesses such as non-essential retail, can expect to reopen from 12 April.

Moore, the Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, commented the reopening of the market comes as good news for many, with the Cambridge Market being the “centre of city life”.

Moore continued: “The market provides valued goods and services and we have put in place measures to keep shoppers and traders safe. Keeping people safe will always be our top priority.”