Mixed feelings as market returns for first time since lockdown
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:06 23 May 2020
As lockdown measures start to ease, signs of normality are returning in Fakenham.
May 21 saw the return of its Thursday market, as traders and the public ventured back to the market place for the first time since March 14.
All over the town signs about social distancing were outside stalls, shops, road signs and the public toilets on Bridge Street, which were open for the day.
Stallholders were all responsible for introducing their own systems for safe distancing, with the nine stalls selling food, plants and hardware displaying clear two-metre distance guidelines and one way systems.
They included Tony Field of Tony’s Discount Stall, who has been back at other Norfolk markets, including Diss, for three weeks now.
He said: “The day was really good actually, we were not hugely busy. Trade was not as good as normal but I am pleased with what we did.
“People were pleased to see us, the market was really positive and I think it will go from strength to strength as people are getting used to coming back to the market.
“I cannot speak highly enough of the customers for following the social distancing.
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“It is just about survival at the moment. Businesses have got to look at just surviving until this is all over.”
Another Fakenham trader, Naomi Katze, co-owner of The Rainbow Deli Norfolk, has recently reopened. The shop on Upper Market Street, just behind the market, benefits from the passing customers.
She had mixed thoughts on the day, and said: “The atmosphere was very flat, it was strange.
“Some people were excellent at social distancing, while others just don’t get it.
“We have been welcomed back, but most of our business is coming from online orders via social media.
“I think the general public is still quite fearful of shopping, hence why our deliveries are so popular.”
Fakenham Town Council, which announced the reopening of the market, believes the day was a success.
A spokesperson said: “The traders are very pleased with how the day went and I would say they had a steady stream of customers.
“I would like to thank the traders and the public for their help and cooperation to make this partial return of the Fakenham Thursday Market satisfactory.”
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