Hartlepool outdoor market returns after six-month closure

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Hartlepool's weekly outdoor market is returning for the first time in almost six months with new Covid-19 safety measures.

The open-air event run by Hartlepool Borough Council in the westside car park at the rear of York Road will restart on Thursday, September 17, after not being held since the middle of March.

New safety measures to promote social distancing and minimise transmission of coronavirus include a one-way system, slightly different stall set-up to maximise the use of available space, hand sanitising stations and signage.

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Although not compulsory outside, members of the public are encouraged to wear face coverings wherever possible.

The market will introduce new measures to promote social distancing when it reopens. Picture by FRANK REID.The market will introduce new measures to promote social distancing when it reopens. Picture by FRANK REID.
The market will introduce new measures to promote social distancing when it reopens. Picture by FRANK REID.

Gemma Ptak, council Assistant Director (Preventative and Community-Based Services), said: “A number of markets elsewhere in the region have already reopened following lockdown closure, and we now feel able to do the same.

“We have put a lot of thought into how we can safely reopen in a way that best protects both shoppers and traders, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time.

“We would urge people to support us by following the rules on social distancing, keeping their hands clean and wearing a face covering wherever possible.

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“The decision to re-open will be kept under regular review and if people don’t support our efforts to make the market as safe as possible then we may have to implement another temporary closure.”

Traders have welcomed the news after previously speaking out about the impact its suspension has had on them.

Stallholder Mark Corfield, from Billingham, said: “Let’s hope for the sake of the people of Hartlepool and the traders that the market is back on for good without any complications.”

Paul Naylor, who has The Entertainment Zone in York Road and has a stall selling DVDs and computer games, said: “It’s brilliant news.

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"It will be great just to get back trading. Fingers crossed it will keep going in the long term.”

And longtime Hartlepool trader Carol Spence, who has had a second hand stall, added: “I’m over the moon that it's starting back up again and so will everyone else.

"It's a well supported market for midweek.”

The market will be held from 7.30am-4pm.

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