Markets, Lockdown and Government – NABMA and NMTF Update

Markets, Lockdown and Government – NABMA and NMTF Update

Representatives of our respective organisations, NABMA and NMTF met with government officials this afternoon. The below is a summary of discussions.

Every attempt has been made by the two national bodies to push the case for markets to remain fully open, and to have parity with supermarkets in terms of essential and non essential goods for sale. The advice however from Public Health England overrules this request as the government aim is to limit the number of trips from home to prevent the spread of the virus.

In terms of essential and non essential sales on markets then the guidance remains as essential goods only. However, if a trader provides a balance of both essential and non essential items for sale then that will be acceptable providing the balance is deemed as reasonable .

The list of essential and non essential items is still being worked on by government lawyers however the NMTF list is a useful guide but as yet to be confirmed. That essential list includes

  • Food and grocery
  • Household goods
  • Hardware supplies
  • Bicycles
  • Pet supplies
  • Newsagents
  • Flowers and plants


The Legislation published since our original statement (see link below) lists businesses that are allowed to remain open as:

  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops.
  • Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries).
  • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists.
  • Newsagents.
  • Hardware stores.
  • Building merchants, and building services.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Car repair and MOT services.
  • Bicycle shops.
  • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses.
  • The following businesses—
    (a) banks;
    (b) building societies;
    (c) credit unions;
    (d) short term loan providers;
    (e) savings clubs;
    (f) cash points;
    (g) undertakings which by way of business operate currency exchange offices, transmit
    money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made
    payable to customers.
  • Post offices.
  • Funeral directors.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other
    medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.
  • Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.
  • Agricultural supplies shop.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the
    facilities are in the premises of a business included in this Part.
  • Car parks.
  • Public toilets.
  • Garden centres.

Market operators are urged to provide access to premises as non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and telephone orders and click-and-collect. Street food and cafes must be takeaway or delivery only (takeaway alcohol is not allowed).

It is understood that an extension of trader support, and that for private operators, and on similar lines to previous packages will be announced.

Local authorities may receive funding similar to previous compensation arrangements however it has been stressed that few markets have benefited from past support.

NABMA and NMTF remain frustrated by the lack of clarity with just over 24 hours until the lockdown. As soon as government publish the regulations then we will circulate them. We have urged government to ensure that both regulations and funding packages make mention of markets, and market traders.  

The legislation has now been published and is available here

We welcome news stories, job vacancies and tender opportunities from our members for publication. If your market has some news to share, please email

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