ALL non-food market stalls in the Bradford District have been closed to help halt the spread of Coronavirus.

Although Bradford Council will keep food stalls at Oastler and Keighley Markets open, along with the St James wholesale market, all other market stalls will close for the time being following government advice.

The authority is suspending all market rents and services charges and offering businesses and public health advice and support.

Fresh food traders who want to close will be allowed to do so, but the Council is doing everything it can to keep the fresh food markets open.

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The Coronavirus has badly hit UK retail and Bradford non-food market stalls have been impacted with reduced footfall and dwindling sales as people cut back on non-essentials.

At the same time, demand and footfall for fresh food has increased.

A letter has been sent to the traders and markets’ staff are talking to the stallholders to coordinate the closedown.

The Council is asking food traders to ensure their customers keep at least two metres away from each other in queues and has warned that a lack of social distancing could result in the fresh food markets being closed.

The authority may need to limit access ways into the market and put on additional security staff to encourage social distancing.

Some traders are only taking card payments to prevent close contact with customers and the council is encouraging other stallholders to follow suit.

Public health advice advises that retail staff wash / sanitise their hands after every transaction, especially if it involves cash as it can this can carry the virus.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “It is vitally important we do everything we can to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while maintaining critical supplies including food.

“We ask that all retailer please encourage their customers to maintain social distancing of at least two metres and put into action important public health advice around cleanliness and sanitation.

“Bradford markets’ food stalls are well stocked, however, we encourage customers not to panic buy but to continue to support this local offer.

“Council staff are working around the clock to reduce the impacts of Covid 19 and keep everyone as safe as possible.”