Outdoor markets across Stoke-on-Trent have closed following government guidance in response to the coronavirus emergency.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has this evening confirmed stallholders will no longer be allowed to set up for trade at Bentilee, Fenton, Hanley and Birch Terrace Sunday market.
And it is also reviewing its indoor markets in line with national guidance released overnight which allows stalls that offer essential retail such as grocery and food to be open.
For the time being Stoke Indoor Market is open via one door, Longton Indoor Market is welcoming customers via two entrances and only the front entrance is in use at Hanley Indoor Market.
However, Tunstall Market, which operates from inside the market hall, has closed today after an agreement was reached with the traders.
The authority has also confirmed that bulky waste collections have stopped although anyone who has already booked will see their appointment honoured.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We all must do all we can to ensure we stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is the biggest health emergency in a generation.
“We have moved swiftly in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement last night; we are continuing to do all we can to protect residents, prioritise the delivery of services to those people who need our help the most, while protecting and supporting our staff, the vast majority of whom live in the city they serve.
“The message is clear: you must stay at home. Only leave home for shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, for any medical needs or to care for the vulnerable. Travel to and from work only if absolutely necessary. If you have to go out for any of the above reasons, you must adhere to physical distancing.
“Our parks will remain open, but gatherings are not allowed. Police teams have clear instruction to respond to gatherings.
“Trading standards and environmental health teams are providing guidance to businesses on complying with the government guidelines.
“It is really important that vulnerable people are shielded, and we are working to support those people on the highest risk category. As a provider of public services, we are a category one responder, like the NHS – we provide essential services for the most vulnerable and have to be able to do this.”
A new community service to help meet the everyday needs of vulnerable people affected by coronavirus has already had more than 70 enquiries, 24 hours after launching.
#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed to target those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.
Residents are being asked to get in contact if either they need support or are able to offer support to members of the community who are self-isolating or vulnerable – such as elderly residents and residents who need some extra help and are not already accessing medical or agreed care packages.
Ms Brown said: “As a local authority, we are doing everything we can to support people, but we recognise we are unable to respond to all the needs of the community alone at this time. We are pleased to be working with VAST as part of our response to coronavirus to ensure we are all looking out for one another.”
Residents can access the website via www.corona19.vast.org.uk, or call 0800 5615610 Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.