Leighton Buzzard Market will re-open for food sales with social distancing measures in place

Food sellers will be allowed to trade at Leighton Buzzard Market, as the Coronavirus crisis continues.

By Steve Sims
Thursday, 26th March 2020, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 3:08 pm

Leighton-Linslade Town Council has announced today that the market will open from 8am - 2pm, but solely for food traders with fruit & veg, fish, bread, and cheese and olives on offer.

In order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, traders will be spaced 10 metres apart.

Members of the Leighton-Linslade Covid-19 task force group and the police will also be assisting with social distancing measures, and there will be posters to remind the public of safety advice.

Leighton Buzzard Market

Traders will be observing two metre social distancing, and will ask customer to do the same. They will seek to take cashless payments where possible and take extra hygiene precautions when preparing and serving.

The council says it is "responding to the demands of our community for food" in allowing a food-only market to operate on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The decision is in line with Government guidance which says food markets can continue.

It said: "As market operator, the Town Council is taking a calculated risk that both market traders and customers alike will abide by the social distancing rules as laid out by Government.

"To help enforce the two-metre social distancing rule, the Town Council by way of its Operation Dodford Agreement has requested that a police presence be provided.

"In addition, volunteers from the Covid-19 Task Force will also be on hand to support where necessary. The Town Council cannot impress enough the need to abide by the 2 metre rule. A failure to do so will force a review into the operation which may result in its closure to the detriment of all."

To support all the traders during the crisis, all pitch fees have been waived.

The council has also warned: "If you or someone you live with has a high temperature or a new, continuous cough please DO NOT leave home.

"Ensure you wash your hands regularly. If you are leaving home to visit the market, please ensure you minimise your time outside of the home, and ensure you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household."

On Monday night, PM Boris Johnson said people could only leave their homes for one of four reasons: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise per day; any medical need or to care for a vulnerable person; or for travel to work if absolutely necessary.

That had originally led the council to announce it would close the market until further notice, with immediate effect. It said: "The safety of the public, traders and our staff are of paramount importance."

Will you visit the market? Have you had difficulty getting fresh food from the supermarkets? Email [email protected] with your experiences.