The council has been keeping the evolving situation under constant review and this week agreed that the first of our essential food traders will open for business across the borough on Saturday, 9 May.
These include fruit and veg seller Gulbahar Zaki in Story Street off Caledonian Road, Hani Kharroubi fishmonger in Angel’s Chapel Market, and fruit and veg sellers Cam and Keith outside The Enkel Arms in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway Nag’s Head.
The safety of customers and stallholders is a top priority for the council, and all traders have been issued with clear instructions on how to operate social distancing at market stalls, which they have agreed to follow.
The council will use these guidelines as the basis for a phased reintroduction of street trading, as and when it is safe and appropriate to do so. The guidelines will be kept under constant review and updated where necessary in order to ensure that stallholders and shoppers can all stay safe.
If the measures prove successful, the council will engage with other traders and help pave the way for the return of more stalls in due course.
The council is in conversation with Islington Farmers Market, and other stall holders in our street markets who sell essential items, about when they may also be able to resume trading.
Cllr Asima Shaikh, executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “Our street markets are hugely popular, and the lifeblood of Islington where people know they can find affordable, fresh food and all the essentials. It was a difficult decision to suspend street trading on safety grounds, but it was the right one in the circumstances.
“But now, as the situation has developed, we’ve been able to draw up new guidelines that will allow traders selling essential food and other goods to reopen, while ensuring their stalls and their working practices do not endanger anyone’s health.
“Naturally we are very keen to see our ever-popular market traders return, and we’re working with them through these difficult times – but we all agree that this has to be done right. It cannot be rushed, as we must ensure that the guidelines are effective.”
Visitors will be expected to keep to social distancing rules while shopping, and obey any instructions from stallholders and staff to enable the stalls to stay safe and keep trading.
Shoppers will notice several differences to minimise physical contact, from social distancing markers on the ground, to goods being selected by stallholders instead of shoppers, to a single, clearly-marked point for collection and payment of goods.
Residents are reminded that the Government’s social distancing rules are still in force and people should only leave their homes for essentials including exercise and food shopping, keep the number of trips to a minimum, and restrict food shopping visits to a single member of the household where possible.