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Jan Hutchinson, Chief Executive, Spitalfields Market Tenants Association, updates you on behalf of the market’s tenants.
Like me, I’m sure you’ve been receiving messages from all sorts of big businesses across various sectors, detailing their stance on Coronavirus. We have not encountered a more complex challenge to the food produce supply chain in my lifetime and there are no easy solutions.
I want to let you know, on behalf of the tenants at New Spitalfields Market, that we are continually monitoring the guidelines and advice being provided to us by the UK Government and Public Health England and in doing so, endeavouring to ensure that our people here in the market, as well as our customers and suppliers, are as safe as possible.
Operationally, the impact is huge on everyone. Businesses all over the world are evolving to fit the everchanging demands of this situation – some industries have ground to a halt, while others will be forever altered.
We remain open for business and so are the majority of our customers at this point.
As one of the key supply routes for fruit, vegetables and flowers into the non-supermarket customer-facing food outlets across the South East of England, we bear a huge responsibility at any time, but never more so than now. Despite the lockdown situation in some European countries, our supplies have not stopped – we still have an abundance of product in the market and we are doing everything we can to enable our customers to continue trading as close to normally as can be.
At a time of crisis, our role is to not only help our customers continue to operate, but also to help them adapt to the changing situation round them. The dedicated people who make our market what it is continue to work throughout the nights to this end.
I realise I’m writing to you as someone in the trade, but we are all consumers too. I would encourage everyone to do anything you can to help smaller local businesses. While a lot of the focus in the last 10 days or so has been on stockpiling and the subsequent empty shelves at our nation’s supermarkets, we at New Spitalfields would also urge you to buy from small, independent greengrocers and market traders, as they are really under pressure and doing everything they can to support their communities in these hours of need. In the same way, if you are able, please support your local restaurants. Whilst the new recommendations from the Government ask us all to not to go to pubs and restaurants for a few weeks, that does not stop any of us from ordering takeaways from those that offer that service.
I will update you as and when anything changes. For now though, from everyone at New Spitalfields Market, may I just extend our very best wishes to you all. Please stay safe and healthy and do all you can to help those in need around you.