CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden Market to re-open tomorrow after coronavirus shutdown

One way system around famous tourist spot

31 May, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

Messages for shoppers on the cobbled courtyard

THE world famous Camden Markets, the renowned tourist attraction which previously attracted thousands of visitors every weekend, will re-open for trading tomorrow (Monday), owners Lab Tech have confirmed.

Stalls and retail units in the Stables Market and the Camden Lock courtyard areas will be trading from 10am – with new rules imposed in a bid to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

The markets were kept open right up until the days before lockdown rules were announced in March, prompting some traders at the time to tell the New Journal they feared for their well-being.

LabTech then shut down their sites across Camden Town, and offered a rent holiday of three months to all traders.

Now market managers say they believe up to 80 per cent of the sites’ food and drink outlets would be re-opening in the near future, with at least 30 trading from tomorrow (Monday).

LabTech chief executive Yaron Shahar said: “We have three priorities as we prepare to re-open: doing so safely and responsibly for visitors, traders and the wider community, supporting traders as comprehensively as possible as they re-start their businesses, and learning from this first phase as we plan to open Buck Street and other areas of the estate.”

LabTech add they will continue a rent free policy for the foreseeable future, giving traders the chance to operate with low overheads as they look to get back on their feet.

For visitors, the usual hustle and bustle will no longer be part of the Camden experience.

Market managers have introduced a series of measures they say will allow visitors to come in confidence. They include a one way system to manage flow, queuing systems outside shops, wardens based at well-known pinch points – such as the Amy Winehouse statue – and new maps showing how to get round the labyrinth like Stables Market area, with hand sanitiser stations at regular intervals.

They added that because the Market was ‘open air’ and had ‘abundant’ space for seating and tables, food traders will be able to let customers sit and eat.

The new Buck Street Market is due to remain closed for the moment. The newly designed market, build using recycled ship containers, had only been open for a week before the government’s lockdown announcement.

Gates will open at the Stables from 10 am on Monday, however, and the market will trade until 8pm each day.

Mr Shahar added: “Our comprehensive range of measures has been devised to ensure we can achieve these objectives and we will continue to support our local businesses through these unprecedented times as we move out of lockdown. The market has thrived for 45 years and we are confident it will continue to be the heart of North London for many years to come.”

During lockdown, LabTech donated rooms at their Stay apartments in Chalk Farm and Kentish Town to NHS staff. They also provided kitchen space in closed restaurants for homeless charities, and arranged for excess food from their catering outlets to be donated to those in need.

The company added that customers would be enticed back over the summer with a series of events including live music – which would be held within current social distancing guidelines.

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