Trader hopeful people will obey distancing rules ahead of market reopening

Diss Market. Tony Fields at his stall.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Diss Market. Tony Fields at his stall.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A trader has said he believes people are well accustomed to social distancing measures ahead of a town market’s reopening.

Fakenham market day and town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Fakenham market day and town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER - Credit: Archant

Fakenham Town Council has confirmed the Thursday market will reopen to food and plant traders on May 21 following the initial easing of the lockdown rules.

The market has been closed since March 14 following the prime minister’s lockdown announcement.

Stallholders will be responsible for introducing their own systems for safe distancing.

One of the traders coming back to the town is Tony’s Discount Stall, run by Tony Fields, from Norwich.

Fakenham's Thursday market PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Fakenham's Thursday market PICTURE: Matthew Farmer - Credit: Archant


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Mr Fields has been trading at Diss market for the last three weeks and says that people there have been following the social distancing guidelines.

He believes the public understands the importance of it. He said: “I think 95pc of people are trained now with social distancing.

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“You get the odd person who does ignore it. I had an incident last week but the customers asked the other to move away.

“People know the situation and we just have to get used to it.”

Iain Mcewan (left) and Tony Fields (right) preparing boxes for delivery across Norfolk. Picture: Ton

Iain Mcewan (left) and Tony Fields (right) preparing boxes for delivery across Norfolk. Picture: Tony Fields - Credit: Archant

The trader has introduced a one-way system when browsing his stall, a hand washing station and bollards to keep customers apart.

The reopening of markets elsewhere, such as in Swaffham has been met with divided opinion. However, Mr Fields believes it is time to bring back traders, or risk losing them.

“I agreed with shutting them but food workers could die completely if they didn’t reopen,” he said.

“If we lose them it would be awful. This whole incident has shown how important the markets are. It’s not just about coming to buy something but getting to talk to someone.”

Fakenham town mayor, Gilly Foortse. Picture: FAKENHAM TOWN COUNCIL

Fakenham town mayor, Gilly Foortse. Picture: FAKENHAM TOWN COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Mr Fields also said that reopening will ease his stock control. While markets have been closed he has run a delivery service.He said that he has not struggled to get hold of goods, but that knowing what amount to buy has been difficult.

Fakenham mayor Gilly Foortse said: “‘Fakenham Town Council is delighted to be able to reopen our Thursday Market to our food and plant sellers.

“We are keen to support our traders to ensure their survival into the future. Measures are in place to ensure that everyone can enjoy the market safely by following the social distancing advice.”

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