Customers will be able to browse their favourite stalls and hunt for a bargain once again when Hartlepool’s outdoor market returns on Thursday, April 29 after being shut for more than three months during England’s national lockdown.
COVID safety measures will be in place at the market, including hand sanitising stations for traders and customers and one way systems to help maintain social distancing.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions will go ahead as planned with non-essentials retail, outdoor hospitality and hairdressers allowed to reopen from April 12.
Mark Corfield, from Billingham, who runs a DVD and CD stall at the market, said he is looking forward to seeing customers and fellow stall-holders again.
Mark, who has been trading at the market for 14 years, said: “I’ve been struggling with not having any money and not being able to do the market.
"I’m glad the market’s reopening again so I can start trading.
"I enjoy it, it’s a way of life, not just for myself, but also for our customers, who like to get out and about. They like that bit of contact and a bit of a banter and a laugh.
"It’s such a friendly market, everybody knows each other. It’s like going to see friends rather than actually going to work. Everybody interacts and everybody helps everybody.
"Fingers crossed we get nice weather as well.”
The well-established weekly outdoor market, situated in the West Side Car Park between Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and York Road, also has some vacant pitches and the council is encouraging new traders to join in.
Matthew Pearce, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Project Officer, who manages the market, said: “We’re looking forward to the market resuming and to seeing our regular sellers again.
“However, we also have some vacant pitches, so we would very much welcome interest from new traders who would like to give it a go.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to sell items from a prime location right in the centre of the town.”
For more information, including details of pitches and prices, please email [email protected]