The government announced on 23 March that certain business must close, and social distancing measures must be put in place for businesses that are deemed essential.
The government website states that ‘Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food’ have been listed as an exception and may remain open.

This information is linked here:…

following this announcement, Bishop’s Stortford Town Council has worked with traders that provide essential services to ensure that the market can safely operate.

The government has stated that business that may remain open MUST adhere to these guidelines:

• Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and

• Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not


• Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that

remain open.

To ensure that all traders at the market comply with these guidelines, all traders must put a social distancing plan in place before they trade. The social distancing plan outlines how a trader will comply with each of these points. A market officer is onsite on market days to ensure that traders are adhering to social distancing measures. Pictures below were taken from yesterday’s market (2 April), and show 2 metre marked out spaces, and signage asking customers not to group and to remain 2 metres apart – similar to the measures taken in supermarkets.

We have also altered the location of where traders are allowed to trade from. Not all of our pitches are available to hire so that social distancing measures can be maintained. Pitches will be spaced at least 6 meters away from each other to allow customers to queue. We have also assessed pitches that could cause a ‘bottleneck’, so members of
the public can pass easily.

We have put these systems in place, and are now relying on members of the public to follow them appropriately.

Advice for those that use the market remains the same as those using supermarkets:
- Please wash your hand thoroughly when you return home. Advice on how to correctly wash your hands can be found here:
- Please do not visit family or friends whilst at the market.
- Please comply with social distancing measures while attending the market. How to properly social distance yourself from others can be found here:…
- The market is not a place for social gatherings. No seating or resting areas are made available by traders.

We have been following the movements of other market operators via the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA). Currently, markets nationally and locally are applying their own social distancing measures depending on the layout of their market.
- Saffron Walden – Still operating in an open area with traders selling essential products.
- St Albans – Still operating and selling a range of fruit and veg, bread, meat, cheese, fish, eggs, and other dry food goods
- Waltham Abbey – Still operating with social distancing measures in place
London Markets
- Walthamstow – Still operating with essential groceries on sale
- Camden – Still operating, groceries, hardware goods, pet foods and take away food still available
- Borough – Still operating selling groceries with additional social distancing measures in place

We have been continuously updating our traders with information from the government website to ensure they all have the most current information. We have advised traders with latest information for:

Advice for food retailers:…

Removal of waste, cleaning and hygiene:…

And links to business support for our traders that cannot currently trade:…


We are keeping updated with the latest government advice from the and endeavour to make the market as safe as possible whilst also providing an essential food service for the town. The market is an extension of the high street, and as the government have said that members of the public can still leave their homes to buy food it is essential that this service is still available.

Finally, to help our traders that cannot currently trade at the market, we will be setting up a virtual market on our Bishop’s Stortford Market Facebook page. This will allow to traders to advertise their business, and post products directly to customers. Look out for all of your favourite traders from the Farmers and Craft market and the general market!