Coronavirus: Some Shropshire markets close while others are monitored by police
Markets across Shropshire are closing amid measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus while others are under police monitoring to ensure they are following government guidelines.
Bosses at Ludlow and Wellington markets are the latest to make the decision to close, while Oswestry remains open for just one trader and Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury have introduced special measures.
This comes after Ludlow Town Council waived its rent for stallholders for three months, despite reporting a noticeable drop in footfall.
But the authority said having listening to advice from national organisations and local experts, it was the right time to close.
A statement released by the council said: "It is with much sadness that the decision has been made to close Ludlow’s 900-year-old market and stop all trading with immediate effect.
"Thank you to all the loyal customers and traders for their support in these difficult times.
"Ludlow has a very strong market tradition and every year it is the local support that sees it through the winter to emerge into the spring.
"There will be other years for the market to bloom, but for this season it will remain dormant."
The council also closed all play areas in line with government advice yesterday.
Oswestry Town Council has closed its outdoor markets and is keeping its indoor market open for just one essential stallholder selling dog food.
Market manager David Clough said: "We haven't got anyone who sells essential goods on the outside of the market, so we've taken the decision to temporarily cancel them following government guidelines for the foreseeable future.
"The indoor market is 98 per cent closed. We have got a trader who sells dog food which is classed as essential and we've blocked access to the rest of the market.
"There's no other traders indoors and we've taken extra precautions. There's no queueing, there's two-metre gaps between customers and all surfaces are being frequently cleaned."
Mr Clough added the indoor market is currently open on Wednesday and Saturday, but is subject to change.
In Wellington, market operators have told more than 43 traders to stay at home.
Herlander Alcobia, Wellington Market manager, said: "It is with great regret that we are closing our market, in line with government guidelines on Covid-19.
"We are hopeful that by taking this action to reduce social interaction, we are able to unite together and pass the uncertainty that these times bring.
"We are a small local business that houses over 43 small businesses, all of whom are also affected by Coronavirus.
"The impact on day-to-day living has become extremely difficult and the strain of lowering footfall has forced us to take control of the situation in the interests of our staff, traders and the general public.
"Though we have a small number of food stalls, we are not specifically a food market. We feel that it will not be in your best interest to keep these running."
Alterations are also being made to Bridgnorth's weekly Friday and Saturday markets and stallholders selling non-essential goods have been told to stay away.
Mayor of Bridgnorth, councillor Ron Whittle, said: "We are introducing certain restrictions to what we can at the Friday and Saturday markets.
"The council doesn't control the whole market on a Friday and on a Saturday, we control the stalls under the town hall and four stalls on High Street.
"Under the town hall, we're saying food and other essential things only. Any stallholders selling other things are being told they unfortunately cannot trade. It'll just purely be food stalls and pet food stallholders.
"We are also encouraging other stallholders that we don't control to abide by the guidelines and only trade if they're selling essential goods."
In Shrewsbury, the market hall is open for food and pet items, and police are monitoring the operation to ensure it is as safe as possible.
Tape has been lain down to give shoppers an idea of the two-metre recommendation for social distancing, and many traders are offering a delivery-only service.
Kate Gittins, facilities manager, said it was a "difficult" and "ever-changing" situation, but that measures introduced were working well.
Bosses at Newport Market are continuing to trade and said essential food stallholders are using traditional supply lines to ensure they still had a selection of meat, fish, fruit and veg, bread, cheese and homemade produce.
Operators of Machynlleth Market have taken the decision to close it for the first time in years.
The market usually takes place every Wednesday and is known for running 'whatever the weather'.
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