Published: 06:00, 09 July 2020
Traders at Deal Market could be reopening their stalls by this Saturday - but with significantly fewer pitches available.
Deal Town Council has agreed changes to the operating practices and layout to make the site at Union Road car park Covid safe following a near four month closure.
These changes include fencing the stalls in to create a one-way flow to allow for adequate social distancing.
Staff will be blocking present entry points and creating one guarded point for entry and exit with sanitising station at Duke Street.
Unlike many markets, Deal’s is uniquely run by the town council which came under fire for delaying the opening when others reopened at the start of June. The delay was where a report and risk assessment had to be discussed with district council officers and agreed by the full council at Deal.
The document, outlines that just 14 stalls will be permitted. These are the plant stall and food vendors, serving take-away food only. Each will be spread over two car parking spaces instead of one. Opening hours reduce from 9am until 2pm.
The document says the market brings little profit. Additional costs to implement the changes come from the hire of railings and extra staff including two SIA security guards which mean it will run at a loss.
These costs amount to £362.50 a week with a one-time payout of £710.50.
While Cllr Oliver Richardson felt the additional costs should be passed to the traders by increasing pitch fees, Cllr Lee Kettlewell said it would seem “vindictive” to do this, especially as traders have suffered from a reduction in earnings.
They agreed to use £2,300 previously earmarked for the cancelled Braderie.
Officers told the meeting they are aiming to reopen on Saturday, but should there be a delay in effecting the new measures, they will open at the next available opportunity.
The effectiveness of the new arrangements will be monitored by the town clerk, the responsible finance officer and mayor and they will report this back to the council at subsequent meetings.
A statement, published on the authority's website, said: “The Council has confirmed that they will re-open the Saturday Market as soon as is practicably possible, subject to all the necessary health and safety measures and Dover District Council’s agreement being in place.
"All traders and the public will be advised of the start date in due course”
More by this authorBeth Robson
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