CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Police check West Hampstead Farmers Market for social distancing

Officers say they asked some people to space out but crowd control measures were being observed

28 March, 2020

The West Hampstead Farmers Market in operation today (Saturday)

POLICE have made a check on West Hampstead Farmers Market which is continuing to operate behind cordons during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

Shoppers are queuing today (Saturday) to get into the enclosed area and then asked to observe a two-metre spacing rule. There were concerns, however, whether these measures were being fully followed.

Fortune Green councillor Lorna Russell said: “I love the weekly West Hampstead Farmers Market but I’m concerned that they are not properly enforcing social distancing. I’ve reported this to Camden [Council] and hope they’ll spread out the stalls and allow fewer people in at a time next week. If not, I can’t see how they can stay open.”

Camden is letting its own street markets elsewhere stay open so that people can buy fresh produce.


Former Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding was furious the market went ahead


Councillor Richard Olszewski, who also represents Fortune Green, said he had been reassured by what he had seen when he went to check the market.

“It was properly gated, looked well-managed with an identifiable responsible person controlling entry,” he said. “Many of the stallholders were wearing face masks and there was signage on keeping distance.”

Although photos shared on social media triggered an angry reaction from people who thought the market was not an essential event during lockdown – many using stereotypes about middles class shoppers in north London – police also approved the market to continue after checking the site.

“Officers have visited the West Hampstead Market today,” a tweet from the West Hampstead Safer Neighbourhood team said.

“At the time, distancing measures and crowd control measures were being observed and managed by staff. Where people were too close they were asked to space. People who did not need to be there were directed to leave.”

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