Some of London’s most iconic markets won’t be reopening this weekend, despite Boris Johnson telling Brits that outdoor markets could reopen under social-distancing guidelines.
The idea is to open markets that are usually less densely packed with visitors first. Whitechapel, Watney and Petticoat Lane markets will open this Saturday and Sunday. If those openings are successful, they’ll be joined by Bethnal Green, Chrisp Street and Brick Lane. Then, Roman Road, Wentworth and Columbia Road will open a week later, but only if the first waves of market openings are deemed safe and social-distancing guidelines are in place.
Dennis Madden, a Columbia Road market trader for 50 years, told Time Out that Columbia Road traders are ‘raring to go’ but happy to wait until it is safe for them. He expects that even if the market can restart on June 20, up to 30 percent of traders will wait to see how the first few weeks go before opening – to judge how safe and busy it is. ‘You need a certain amount of people down there to make a profit,’ he says.
Madden told Time Out that the market will have a new layout when it reopens, with all the traders’ stalls on one side of the street. He says: ‘Traders can socially distance by standing behind their flowers. But when it comes to visitors, it’s going to be left up to individuals to a certain extent.’ For this reason, he expects that the market will have security guards in place for the first time in its history.
Did you know that Camden Market has reopened?
Find out more about shops reopening in London.
Correction: This piece previously stated dates that markets would be reopening. They were incorrect.