Fears that re-opening Bakewell Stall Market risks Covid-19 hot spot

June 16, 2020 5:25 PM
By Peter Dobbs
Bakewell Stall Market (harryshaw.co.uk)

Bakewell stall market before the Covid-19 pandemic

A proposal by Cllr Paul Cruise for a balanced approach to open up the market with 45 stalls for 4 weeks and then review was rejected

Several residents of Bakewell have expressed concern that the proposals to re-open Bakewell open air market on June 22nd risks an influx of visitors that could result in a flare up of Covid-19 cases.

At the June 11th meeting of the Derbyshire Dales District Council Emergency Committee members discussed the proposals put forward by Ashley Watts, the authority's director of community and environmental services, for re-opening the market.

Some councillors called for the number of stalls to be reduced, from the recommended 90 (already down from 120) to 60 or even 45 initially to reduce the risk by allowing easier social distancing.

Cllr Paul Cruise (Lib Dem) said: "I fear the residents aren't being heard in this situation and that's a shame.

Paul Cruise (Peter Dobbs)

Cllr Paul Cruise

Public health comes first and I am nervous for our communities and that we are going to create another hotspot and bring infection into an area that has been locked down. We are taking a risk as a council and could create a hotspot of Covid. Just because the government says it (that shops and markets can reopen) doesn't mean we should - we should decide what is best for our residents."
Mr Watts said that fewer than 90 stalls would mean the council having to pick and choose which traders could or could not set up shop at the market with the lack of a fair way to do so.

Despite the health issues raised, the meeting voted 5:3 (broadly on party lines), in favour of re-opening with 90 stalls on Monday 22nd June.

After the meeting Paul Cruise said, " I wish we were in better shape with the Pandemic - Bakewell Market is within the catchment of big cities like Manchester that have a higher R rate. I want us to get the economy moving and opening up non essential shops and services at the right time is really important. I am however concerned that although the infection rate is lower - we still have a risk of a second wave and our track trace and isolate system is still very immature."