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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.