Let outdoor markets fully reopen in time for Easter — NMTF plea to Prime Minister



Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to allow outdoor markets to sell both essential and non-essential goods a fortnight earlier than the rest of retail.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison has reminded Mr Johnson that this happened when the first lockdown ended in June last year — giving traders and shoppers alike a boost to their well-being.

“We feel our plea is justified because the strategy worked after the first lockdown and we are confident it will work again,” Mr Harrison said.

In a letter to the Prime Minister he takes into account that the roadmap out of restrictions is dependent on the increasing success of the fight against COVID-19.

“Obviously this plea is being made subject to favourable data being returned on COVID-19 infection rates, though I am sure the latest understandably strict lockdown has had a most positive effect in fighting the pandemic,” he wrote.

The early opening last year was an undoubted boost to traders because they were able to get back to earning a living, and to shoppers because it gave them the freedom to shop outdoors in what the scientists always contended was a safe environment, he added.

It had also made people more aware of the benefits of shopping locally, he said.

“We know that since then — two further lockdowns notwithstanding — there has been a great resurgence of people not only shopping on outdoor markets but, crucially, in their local areas. That has to be a good thing.”

He said he was confident that, having gone through three lockdowns, both traders and operators are well versed in holding outdoor markets in a COVID-safe environment, with appropriate signage and social distancing rules.

“We believe they are safer than perhaps any other retail environment and their full reopening would do a lot to boost the confidence of shoppers.

If they were opened on April 1st — just in time for the Easter holiday — customers would really appreciate the ability to shop local and shop well.”

Joe Harrison has also contacted Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng asking for their support.

To read the full text of the letter to the PM click here