23 Sherrin Road, Leyton, London E10 5SQ. Today’s market trading times: Midnight – 9am

Market united in COVID battle

The landlord and the tenants of New Spitalfields Market have united behind a renewed effort to ensure that every market user complies with government guideline and law during the ongoing pandemic.
Debbie Howard, Superintendent of New Spitalfields Market, has sent a note to all tenants to remind them of their obligations as we continue to fight COVID-19.
Wearing face coverings in some public spaces is statutory, she said. Click here for advice on the law of where you must wear a face covering and indoor markets are mentioned. Debbie reiterated that everyone should be wearing a face covering in the Market Hall, toilet facilities and cafes on site. Cafes should only be providing a take-out service.
Speaking on behalf of our landlord, City Corporation, she added that tenants and their staff as well as customers and visitors should abide by the law at all times. “I am encouraging the wearing of face coverings to comply with the law and I urge and encourage you all to protect yourself, your staff and your customers. You must ensure everyone who works or visits your business wears a face covering. The constabulary have recently been issuing free disposable face coverings to those not wearing one and are doing everything to encourage people to cover up, but you need to take responsibility as business owners as well.”
Staff and visitors who do not comply could be issued with a hefty fine if the police were to visit the site, added Debbie. “Public Health England, the Local Authority and the Health and Safety Executive all have powers to close businesses and issue hefty fines for non-compliance and indeed if there is an outbreak of the virus on site, they have powers to enforce closure of the entire site.”
While by no means widespread, there have been confirmed reported cases of COVID-19 at the market and with the more virulent form of the virus it is vital that everyone does everything possible to reduce/stop transmission in the market.
“Please take responsibility for your staff and customers and tell them they must wear a face covering,” said Debbie. “Remember – Hands – wash frequently for at least 20 seconds, Space – maintain a 2-metre distance where possible, Face – wear a face covering where social distancing is not possible and where it is law to do so.
The City of London is in discussion and working with the Tenants Association regarding this matter and Jan Hutchinson, chief executive of the Tenants Association has also released a statement to its members. Here it is in full:
“During the pandemic, New Spitalfields Market has been able to continue operating, although of course for some the negative impact on our businesses has been more significant than others. We have shown incredible resilience as a group of traders, both in the level of service we have been able to offer our customers and in the generous donation of so much of our product to charity.
“COVID-19 has taken the lives of so many people across the country, and to date the number of cases reported in the market has been extremely low, but with firms now closing due to outbreaks within their staff, it is becoming vitally important to consider what measures you are taking to keep staff and customers safe. The floor space on stands can be made to work with masks, distancing and regular handwashing and use of hand sanitiser, but the offices are often small and poorly ventilated, and therefore become breeding grounds for this virus.
“The last few weeks have seen a dramatic upturn in the numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the boroughs that are closest to the market, and our local hospitals, GP practices and care homes are struggling to cope with the volume of extremely sick patients, a tragically large number of who are dying. It’s time for us to step up our efforts in the market, to ensure that none of us adds to the already huge burden upon our health service. The second wave of the pandemic is far more virulent than the first and the numbers being released by the government are no hoax. The age profile of the people who are dying is lower too.
“Some months ago, the Corporation of London issued guidelines on the wearing of facemasks, use of hand sanitiser and social distancing within the public areas of the market, and in line with government guidance. They have been respected by some, but we now want to make it clear that the Tenants Association stands behind the Corporation of London in insisting that these guidelines are followed. We have been left, as tenants, to set our own rules within our own units, and we can all see that this has led to inconsistency in the approach of different tenants.
“We would therefore encourage everyone using the market to wear a facemask and adhere to all hygiene and social distancing guidelines whilst anywhere in the market. That includes every member of staff, every supplier and every customer who does not have medical exemption from wearing a mask and will apply to public areas and tenant premises. Unless we all do the same things, we are jeopardising the safety of the market community, our friends and families.
“Please communicate this to every member of your staff and make them aware that these principles apply at all times. We recognise that this is not the most straightforward thing to police, but we are dealing with a killer virus, so please also be strong enough to challenge anyone who you see disregarding these guidelines, including customers.
“We are waiting for an order of facemasks and these will be distributed around the market for your own business and to give to customers, hopefully within the next week.
“These are temporary measures and we hope that by late spring the end is in sight, but we believe it is the very least we can do to show that we care about our fellow market users.”

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