Indoor markets have reopened in Hanley, Longton and Tunstall and additional stalls have opened in Stoke Indoor Market – which had remained open during the lockdown for essential goods only – as part of a managed response to the recovery phase of the coronavirus.
A range of measures are in place to protect shoppers and traders, including social distancing markers and reminders and hygiene sanitising facilities.
The markets are operating at the following times: Hanley Indoor Market – open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Stoke Indoor Market –open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Longton Indoor Market – open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Tunstall Indoor Market – open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
Outdoor markets are operating at the following times: Hanley Outdoor Market at Fountain Square, Hanley, open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Bentilee Outdoor Market at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre car park, open Tuesdays 9am to 4pm, Fenton Outdoor Market at City Road, open Thursdays 8am to 3pm.
The council has confirmed support to market traders. Those who have been unable to operate due to closure, shielding or self-isolating have had a rent holiday during the lockdown period. Those operating cafes have been given a 50 per cent discount as support, while they are currently unable to offer their seating areas for customers. Stoke Indoor Market traders that have continued trading through the last 12 weeks will receive a 75% discount on back rent, and those traders who still cannot operate by law such as hairdressers and beauty salons will not be charged rent until they are able to open.
The authority has allocated £49.3 million in support grants to more than 4,300 small businesses to help them through the coronavirus outbreak, and this includes helping to ensure market traders have been able to apply if eligible. A further round of discretionary grants – with allocations up to £10,000 – will be made available in the coming weeks.
The authority has made parking on all 42 council-operated car parks and on-street parking free until the end of the month, to support towns and businesses to help the city’s recovery from the lockdown restrictions.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have 155 traders across our market sites, and we want to continue to help them and shoppers, with the right safety and precautions in place, as our city adjusts to the easing of the lockdown. Many of the areas that the National Federation of Market Traders is asking local authorities to do, we have already done and are committed to supporting traders as they get back to offering their services to members of the public under the new normal. We have also seen considerable footfall today which is great news for both traders and residents alike. We know that there are concerns from a small number of traders, and we are keen to continue the conversation so that stalls are back up and running, serving residents across the city. As with all shopping centres at this time, we have restrictions in place in market halls to ensure social distancing and to allow people to shop in a safe environment. We’re proud of our markets and encourage people to visit and support their local communities.”
Meanwhile, the council’s tourism service is encouraging people to celebrate Father’s Day in different ways on Sunday 21 June, during the coronavirus restrictions. The Visit Stoke website has a host of inspirational ideas to plan the perfect occasion.
Councillor Brown said: “We know the coronavirus may mean that people cannot plan Father’s Day celebrations in quite the way they may have imagined, but we have lots of tips and ideas.The website has details of the city’s beautiful canals, greenways, parks and open spaces – including walking and bike trails to explore and lots of peaceful spots to relax. There’s also information about ‘pub in a box’, afternoon teas, Stokie recipes, takeaway meals, virtual culture tours, local gifts and much more.”