Romford Market was founded as a sheep and cattle market in 1247
The market was allowed to reopen this week, with 85 per cent of stalls now selling goods again.
Karen Webb, who runs Storky Babywear, tells Time 107.5 they have taken a number of precautions:
“I have a yellow line in front of my stall and just two people can come in at the same time because I have two sections of my stall.
“We are wiping down our card machine with antiseptic and spraying anything they touch with misty spray.”
Karen is also encouraging card payment and has hired two extra staff to help maintain social distancing measures.
“At the end of the day, our safety and our lives are more important than anything but it’s nice that we have the market back,” she continued.
“I feel it is going to be a lot safer than going into these stores, like your Primark, your Debenhams, all these department stores and all these bigger stores where there’s going to be lots of crowds.
“I don’t think they are going to be able to cope with the amount of people that are going to go in there. I think that is going to be a little bit unsafe.”
Many stalls are run by families and they have worked hard to adapt to competition from department stores and online shopping by setting up websites and social media pages.
Karen’s ancestors have had stalls in Romford Market for 140 years and she is always happy to talk to customers and share stories. She says that personal touch is what makes the market special:
“I have customers come to me that don’t buy off me but they just want to have a chat. It is to do with their mental health as well and we give that to them.
“We still have that atmosphere, we’ve still got some old characters here but we’ve also got some new characters so give it a shot.”
David Long, who has run the Wokabout Noodle and Coffee Bar for 12 years, says it is more important than ever for people to support their local community:
“Local traders need as much support as they possibly can,” he said. “You have these big supermarkets where everybody goes and obviously along with Amazon and buying everything online it doesn’t help us.”
He asked the public to help local traders as they worked very hard to keep everybody happy in a difficult industry.
“Please give us a little support and try to look after our market which has been here for 750 years,” he added.
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