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Coronavirus: Markets to be shut to help prevent spread of Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 March 2020

Stalls in Brick Lane are among those to be closed. Picture: Mike Brooke

Stalls in Brick Lane are among those to be closed. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Some of the East End’s most famous markets are being closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Columbia Road flower market as well as stalls in Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane, Roman Road, Sclater Street and Victoria Park will be shut until further notice.

Bethnal Green, Chrisp Street, Roman Road Square, Watney and Whitechapel markets will be limited to stalls selling “non-prepared food and household items only”, Tower Hamlets Council said.

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A council spokesman added: “Following discussions with organisers and operators, a number of markets in Tower Hamlets will close until further notice. We are limiting the number of stalls at remaining markets. These measures are important to ensure traders and customers can follow social distancing guidance.”

The decision comes after hundreds of people were seen flocking to Victoria Park market on Sunday, ignoring government rules on social distancing.

A Victoria Park Market spokesman said organisers put in place measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, but were overwhelmed by the number of people who arrived on Sunday.

He added: “We’ve taken the decision to shut the market until further notice. Our aim was to provide a much reduced produce based market that would provide provisions for the community and support our farmers and producers whilst also allowing customers to move around in a safe two metre space.

“However we experienced an unexpectedly high number of people in the park [on Sunday] and despite limiting the number of customers entering the market, the queues that this created meant that we’re not prepared to run the market under current conditions.”

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