Hartlepool traders 'raring to go' as reopening date for town’s outdoor market announced
Hartlepool traders have spoken of their excitement as the reopening date for the town’s outdoor market was announced.
Hartlepool’s weekly outdoor market, run in the westside car park at the rear of York Road, will welcome customers for the first time this year when it returns on Thursday, April 29 after being shut for more than three months.
The popular market, which features a traditional mixture of stalls selling new goods, food, bric-a-brac and secondhand items, was last in operation on December 17, 2020, before closing down again during England’s third national lockdown.
But as the country enters the next stage of the roadmap to lifting lockdown restrictions, stall-holders have been given the green light to start trading once again.
Carol Spence, who has been running a second-hand stall at the market for 22 years, said: “We are all looking forward to it reopening.
“You make good friends as well, they are not just customers, they are people you know. We’ve missed them, we hope they’ve missed us too.”
She added: "People need to get out again and have some confidence in the fact that if we stick to the rules, stick to what we’ve all been doing, there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The market stayed closed for almost six months in 2020 between late March and mid -eptember due to coronavirus restrictions.
The site briefly reopened on September 17 and ran for the first three weeks of December before the third national lockdown was imposed.
Carol has said trade struggled to pick up in the autumn, but she hopes the warmer weather this time around will help business take off.
Paul Naylor, who has a DVD stall at the market and owns The Entertainment Zone in York Road, says he is “relieved” to have an opening date.
He said: “I’m relieved it’s finally reopening. Not sure how busy it’ll to be in the first few weeks, maybe the first month.
"But it’s good to be restarting, I’m raring to go.
"It will be good to catch up with people and hopefully everyone will still be fit and well.”
Long-time trader Sharon McMahon, who runs a fruit and veg stall at the market with her husband Tom, has said she is also excited to start trading again, but is worried customers will not return in their previous numbers.
Sharon, from Middlesbrough, first started trading at the market 40 years ago with her dad. She said: “My only hope is that the people come back because it’s been closed for so long now. People change their shopping habits and go somewhere else.
She continued: “Because it’s been shut for so long, people might think it’s not going to reopen again.
"We need them to know that we are going to be there, we are going to reopen.”
COVID safety measures will be in place, including hand sanitising stations for traders and customers and one way systems to help maintain social distancing.
The market will trade from 7.30am to 4pm.
New traders are also encouraged to give the market a go, as there are several vacant pitches. For more information, including details of pitches and prices, please email [email protected]