LOCKDOWN 2- MARKETS, GUIDANCE AND PROPOSED LEGISLATION – NABMA AND NMTF REVISED STATEMENT
THE HEALTH PROTECTION (CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTION) RESTRICTIONS (ENGLAND) (NO 4) REGULATIONS 2020
Following further discussions with government officials, NABMA and the NMTF have agreed a revised statement on how we believe these regulations apply to markets in England.
We are frustrated by the government’s handling of this matter which has not helped the two national organisations in supporting our respective members.
The Regulations: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1200/made
The Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england
Fundamentally, indoor and outdoor markets can remain open for the sale of essential goods.
The government is seeking to limit the number of places where people will go to obtain goods and services. This was the prime reason for refusing our request to keep markets fully open and to give them parity with supermarkets.
But we achieved significant concession in that traders who sell a mixture of essential and non-essential goods are permitted to sell both sets of goods, providing there is a reasonable balance in the quantities of each category.
Part 3 lists the “businesses permitted to remain open”. We must stress that the list details types of retailers, not product lines, so interpretation is required to apply these to a market context. As we can all appreciate, traders are much more specialised.
Following queries from members of NABMA and the NMTF, we interpret the regulations and the guidance to mean the following product categories, in some instances particular lines, should be understood to be essential goods:
- Food and grocery – including confectionary and off-sales alcohol; cafes and hot food stalls must be takeaway only
- Household goods – including cleaning products, sanitary products, and baby products NOT clothing, homewares and home furnishings
- Hardware supplies – including repair services and batteries for household items
- Bicycles – including parts and repair services
- Pet supplies
- Plants – including shrubs, and horticultural items NOT flowers
- Face coverings
Under Regulation 16 a person responsible for carrying on a restricted business must cease that business and where a restricted business is part of a larger business then the person responsible for carrying on the larger business is required to close down the restricted business.
Part 1 confirms the closure of cafes and restaurants but there is a specific exemption in Regulation 17 for the sale of food and drink for consumption off the premises between 5am and 10pm. Customers can place and collect their order at the stall. ‘Covid-Secure’ measures must be in place.
Regulations 17/18 provide details on collection arrangements and these can be conducted through a website, online communication, telephone, text or by post. These apply to traders who sell non-essential goods as well as cafes and hot food.
For traders who sell non-essential goods, there is a requirement not to enter premises to collect the goods that have been ordered in this way. Perhaps more easily applied to an indoor context – customers can still enter the market building to collect the order but they must not enter the stalls.
We ask that every effort is made to enable traders in indoor markets who sell non-essential goods to continue to have full and unrestricted access to their stalls, so they can facilitate deliveries and collections. A single collection point could be considered.
It will be for market operators/managers to make a decision on who can continue to trade but – as before – both NABMA and the NMTF hope that a creative and positive approach will be taken to enable as many traders as possible to continue to trade.
Note this statement is for guidance purposes only and should not be relied upon as a definitive statement of the terms and effect of the Regulations.
NABMA and the NMTF cannot be held responsible for the way in which any relevant person (such as an Environmental Health officer) chooses to interpret and enforce the Regulations.