Ever since outdoor markets in Newcastle were forced to close in September due to tightened Covid-19 restrictions, Food and Drink North East (FADNE) has worked tirelessly to lobby and press local MPs, council leaders, mayors and Directors of Public Health to allow outdoor trading to continue.
Working on behalf of over 200 food and drink producers in the North East, FADNE has voiced their concerns about the closure of outdoor markets, the negative impact on the food and drink sector, and the contradictions with restrictions between indoor shops and outdoor markets.
After many active and ongoing conversations, it has been announced that Newcastle City Council has put in place the necessary safety measures that will allow markets to reopen when the national lockdown ends on Wednesday 2nd December.
FADNE director Chris Jewitt is thrilled with the news. “We are so pleased that our discussions with Newcastle City Council and directors of public health have been listened to, and that outdoor markets have been given the green light to reopen when the region enters Tier 3 next week. This is amazing news for North East traders and loyal supporters of outdoor markets.”
“At a time when our food and drinks businesses and industry have been struggling for months, outdoor trading offers them a lifeline, and we have been active in pushing for this change with our local leaders, especially in the lead up to the festive period when more markets usually take place.”
One of the markets that will be reopening is Jesmond Food Market which is curated and managed by Food and Drink North East. It is home to 30 traders and, following the announcement today, will again be trading every month on the first and third Saturdays from 10am to 3pm on Armstrong Bridge, Jesmond.
The first market date will be Saturday 5th December and, as expected, there will be social distancing measures in place. Customers are asked to attend only with their immediate household and to not congregate on the bridge where the market takes place. If crowds do start to appear, they will be asked to disperse from the Armstrong Bridge area. There will also be a one-way system in place, as well as space enough to allow for socially distanced queuing if necessary.
When visiting the Jesmond Food Market and any other outdoor market in Newcastle, all but those who are exempt must wear a face covering and people will be encouraged to use the hand sanitisers available at stations positioned throughout the markets.
Newcastle City Council have made it very clear that if these and other guidelines aren’t followed, they will be forced to close the outdoor markets, at short notice if necessary, as safety remains the priority at all times.