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Stallholders open up… but where’s the trade?­

Chapel Market businesses missing lunchtime and early evening customers as many office workers stay at home

05 June, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Cheese stall market trader Yalcin Ozdemir at his Chapel Market pitch

STALLHOLDERS in Chapel Market returned to work on Monday but said they now needed nearby offices to reopen and workers to start spending their money again.

Non-essential stalls began socially distanced business with about a dozen traders setting up their pitch at the once-bustling Angel site.

Concerns were raised last week by traders’ association chairman David Twydell over the impact of nearby shop queues once most retailers reopen on June 14, but neat spacing and stall placement has been enforced by the council.

A bigger worry, according to cheese seller Yalcin Ozdemir is the lack of lunchtime and early evening trade from offices.

“During the week it has been very quiet,” he told the Tribune. “Most of the offices are closed. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen if they stay closed for a long time. People are working from home and maybe that will continue.

“I get my cheese stock from France, so right now I’m going through my stock of hard cheese I already had. I’ve started six days a week this week, and previously I just did three because it wasn’t worth opening.

“It’s a bit better this week, but with no tourists I rely on that office trade. I don’t know how long I can keep going without it. It’s very worrying.”

To help traders, council officers have closed Chapel Market to traffic during trading hours, with temporary blockades at both sides of the street. Stalls have also been moved further into the street to help social distancing measures.

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