Mark Walsh, Assistant Director for Operations at West Suffolk Council, explains how they are working with traders to ensure that the markets are a safe place for them to work, and for the public to come and shop. Find out how you can work safely here.
My name is Mark Walsh, and I’m the Assistant Director for Operations at West Suffolk Council.
When the COVID crisis took hold, 40 of our vulnerable staff had to go home and shield. This meant that we had to enact our business continuity plan, which meant that some of our non-essential services had to be stopped.
Our markets are vital to the recovery of our towns. Whilst we did have to suspend them for a while, they are now back and they are increasing as part of a phased return.
We continue to work with our traders to ensure that the markets are a safe place for them to work, and for the public to come and visit and shop.
We continue to ensure that our markets and their configuration are such that they work as a safe place as part of the wider town centres, including other shops and places where pedestrians and people that visit the town, congregate.
This is part of a wider Safer Towns initiative that’s being led by government, and we’re following.
We’re working with our market traders to come up with a range of ways in which we can help ensure that our markets are safe and comply with social distancing. These include signage, markings on the floor, barriers to encourage queuing in certain directions, one-way systems and also places on the stalls where people can pick up their goods.
We’re also encouraging the use of contactless payments wherever possible.
As our town centres start to open up again, it’s really important that we ensure that they’re safe places for people to come and visit, as numbers coming increase.
We encourage all businesses to make use of the information that’s available, be that from government, from the local council or from business improvement districts.