Mandatory wearing of face coverings in indoor markets now in force in England

Dateline July 24

Face coverings must now be worn by visitors in shops, supermarkets and indoor shopping centres — including markets.
But market traders and their staff, as well as market management and staff, do not have  to wear them.
Under the new regulations members of the public need to wear face coverings – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana – that covers the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces, as well as carry out frequent hand washing and careful social distancing.
It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site.
Face coverings will not be mandatory for:
* anyone under the age of 11
* those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering
The responsibility for wearing a face covering sits with individuals. Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store.
Anyone who doesn’t abide by the regulations – and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations – could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport. The police have been very clear throughout the pandemic that they will “engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort”.
The Government states: “It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings although we strongly recommend that employers consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place. Employees should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees. Businesses are already subject to legal obligations to protect their staff under existing employment law. This means taking appropriate steps to provide a safe working environment, which may include face coverings where appropriate, alongside other mitigation such as perspex screens to separate workers from customers.
They will be compulsory when buying food to take away but customers choosing table service will be exempt unless queueing to collect their meals.”
The new rules do not apply to outdoor or covered markets.
To read the Government guidance click here.


Register your business for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The Government has published details of the scheme that will operate Monday to Wednesday from August 3 to 31.

You can register if your establishment:
• sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
• provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
• was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July
You cannot register:
• an establishment that only offers takeaway food or drink
• catering services for private functions
• a hotel that provides room service only
• dining services (such as packaged dinner cruises)
• mobile food vans or trailers

To read full Government guidance click here.


Young Traders Market National Final will be held next month, but no regional events

WHILST the nine regional events planned for the 2020 Young Traders Market campaign have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic the National Final is going ahead as planned.



Restaurants, cafés, bars and hairdressers can open from July 4

THE Government has issued advice to businesses that will be allowed to reopen from Saturday July 4.

The advice was issued after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major statement in the House of Commons on June 23.

It has been stressed that, as before, the businesses can only reopen if they are Covid-safe.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison said: “Markets are slowly returning to normal, but the reopening of cafés that are such an important of the service offered should give them a boost.”

To read Government advice to restaurants, cafés and bars CLICK HERE.

To read the advice to “close contact” businesses such as hairdressers CLICK HERE.

Market traders in Scotland missing out on financial support — NMTF contacts First Minister

THE NMTF has contacted Scotland’s First Minister to point out that her Government’s stringent criteria for  local authorities to follow on financial support excluded market traders from the funding under the Small Business Support Grant.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison has made an offer to work together with Nicola Sturgeon and her government to safeguard the businesses and protect the livelihoods of market traders in Scotland.

He told her:

“The loudest voices on this issue are from your home city of Glasgow. Over one hundred microbusinesses in the Forge Market are unable to access the crucial financial support that they need during this period of lockdown. If the Forge Market were in England, as market traders with fixed costs were named as a priority group, they would be first in the queue to receive a grant. Market traders in Scotland deserve the same.

“I hope that a solution can be found to enable market traders in Scotland to access the Small Business Support Grant,” he added.


NMTF renews appeal to Government and local councils to help safeguard traders' livelihoods

THE NMTF has again urged both Government and local councils to consider the plight of traders whose livelihoods have been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In emails to Businesses Secretary Alok Sharma, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and the chief executives and leaders of local authorities, NMTF CEO Joe Harrison has highlighted three serious issues relating to the response to the coronavirus.


TRADERS eager to get on board with contactless payments as soon as possible have welcomed a new partnership between the NMTF and a major card reader provider.

The special offer includes an iZettle contactless card reader for £19 (excluding VAT), a reduction of £10 on the already discounted price (they’re normally £59).

There is no contract or hidden fees, just a 1.75 per cent flat fee per transaction.


NMTF CEO Joe Harrison said that since the start of the COVID-19 crisis there had been a surge in the number of traders wanting the ability to take credit and debit cards for the first time — and in particular to make that transaction contactless.

“These card readers are ideal for traders and we are grateful to iZettle for making this offer,” he added. “The limit for contactless payments has been upped to £45 which has made these readers even more useful.

“But if a larger amount is involved the readers can be used to take payments by inserting the customer’s card.”

For more information, and to apply for a card reader, click here.

NMTF Field Support Officer Brendan Dyson, who’ll be using his new iZettle card reader for new memberships and renewals

THE Northern Ireland Executive allowed non-essential retailers to open from June 12 — including markets.

Click here to read the official statement

AS AN INCREASING number of outdoor markets selling every type of goods began to open from today (Monday June 8) the shoppers were out on Selby’s first event since lockdown.


WHILST outdoor market traders selling non-essential goods can get back to business in England from today (June 1) we have been asked to make it clear that this does not apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The plea comes from Lee Davis, manager of Newtown Market in Mid Wales., which is on the border with England.

“All our traders are from England, and I have already has one trader assume they can turn up on Tuesday morning and trade in Newtown but this is simply not the case.

“The Welsh governent has not changed its stance on lockdown in this regard and will not alter for at least another three weeks.”

In a live broadcast from Barnsley Market on the BBC Breakfast programme the reporter made it clear that outdoor markets were allowed to reopen only in England.

The piece featured NMTF Chief Executive Joe Harrison and members Neil and Susanne Conway. Amended versions were shown in bulletins throughout the day.

Read online about the Sun on Sunday’s campaign to get people shopping on markets  — click here.

Neil Conway pictured with the social distancing poster he has downloaded from the NMTF website and printed on vinyl. A selection of notices and posters can be downloaded using our Bounce Back Guide

THE NMTF’s pleas to two Government ministers to allow the reopening of outdoor markets have paid off.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said outdoor markets can reopen on Monday June 1 provided they meet the COVID-19 safeguards.

In emails to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Business Secretary Alok Sharma the
NMTF pointed out that as the law stood in England indoor markets could be open for food and
other goods such as hardware, pet supplies and flower and plants — but outdoor markets could
only sell food.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison told the ministers: “There seems to be strange notion that social distancing is easier in an indoor market, but from  our observations that is not the case.
“The scientists have said we are safer outside than inside so where it the sense in this legislation?”

At the daily No 10 press conference on Monday May 25 Mr Johnson said following on from the announcement about schools reopening he wanted to give the retail sector notice of the Government’s intentions to reopen shops, so they too could get ready.

“So I can announce that it is our intention to allow outdoor markets to reopen from June 1, subject to all premises being made COVID-secure, as well as car showrooms, which often have significant outdoor space and where it is generally easier to apply social distancing,” he said.

“We know that the transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and that it is easier to follow Covid Secure guidelines in open spaces. That means we can also allow outdoor markets to reopen in a safe way that does not risk causing a second wave of the virus.”

He said that from June 15 the Government intended  to allow all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small, independent shops, to reopen.

“Again, this change will be contingent upon progress against the 5 tests and will only be permitted for those retail premises which are COVID-secure.”

After the Prime Minister’s announcement Joe Harrison said: “This has been a farce and we are pleased that the Government has listened to what we had to say. Now is the time for the markets industry as a whole to prepare to bounce back and provide the shopping public with all that they want.

“We can only hope now that market operators see sense and, with the help and cooperation of market traders in terms of the guidelines, get their outdoor markets reopened as soon as is practicable.”

THE retail market industry’s two leading organisation have welcomed the news that outdoor markets can fully reopen from June 1, and indoor markets from June 15.


TODAY (Saturday March 23) the Government announced a change to the Local Authority Discretionary Fund to make  businesses eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) also eligible to apply for the scheme.

AN appeal to keep both indoor and outdoor markets open so that they can meet social needs and preserve livelihoods has been made by the organisation representing market traders.


Following the Government announcement that markets could full reopen again as early as June 1 (see below) the NMTF has revealed that plans are being made to help traders make the return safely and at the same time conforming to social distancing rules.
CEO Joe Harrison said: “We are currently working hard to put strategies in place to help traders and markets after lockdown. We feel by offering guidance and practical advice in a number of ways, and by encouraging and assisting traders to work in partnership with market managers, we can restore the role markets play in our communities and the UK retail sector as a whole.”
He said the NMTF’s strategy would be outlined in the near future.

THE NMTF has welcomed the news that both indoor and outdoor retail markets in England could start to fully reopen as soon as next month.

In the Government’s  COVID-19 recovery strategy presented to Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson there is hope that the industry can begin to return to normal from June 1.


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is now accepting claims from three and a half million customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The claims service openened on May 13 and is being delivered ahead of schedule, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.



The Government has listened to the NMTF message on plight of many market traders who did not qualify to receive financial support.

A £617 million discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses — including market traders — previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison said: “Government has listened and specifically  has suggested market traders should be considered for this discretionary award.”

THE NMTF has been told by the Government that traders who want to apply for the discretionary grant must contact their local authorities.


There was a slight glimmer of better news from the Chancellor when he announced in the Commons that a new loans scheme aimed specifically at small businesses would be available from May 4.

This extension of the Government’s existing scheme means that small firms can apply for a a “Bounce Back” loan worth up to 25 per cent of their annual turnover, up to £50,000.

Crucially the Government will pay the interest on the loan for the first 12 months.


The NMTF is undertaking a major survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on the businesses of market, street, and events traders in the UK.

We need to be able to demonstrate this impact to the government. This survey will give us the statistics we need to lobby for more recognition, support, and investment. The survey will take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete and your submissions will be anonymous.


Until recent weeks, many markets and high street businesses may have felt they did not need to sell online or consider delivering direct to their customers, relying instead on loyal customers and local footfall.


THE NMTF has contacted more than 800 local authority chief executives and leaders to highlight the effect the COVID-19 crisis is having not only on market traders but on the retail markets industry as a whole.

Some good news for members — subscriptions extended by three months.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

THE NMTF is pleased to see more and more operators giving traders rent concessions after we issued an appeal.

Out and about — what's happening on markets

Markets have been telling us how they’re faring during the crisis.
Operators please feel free to contact us with your news.