Key messages and headlines are:
- Reopening has generally been a very positive experience for traders and shoppers alike with social distancing measures being respected and generally successful. Traders, management and shoppers are working well together.
- The start back has demonstrated the importance and trust that government and communities have placed in local markets. We need to build on this.
- Many operators have been more than supportive of their traders despite continuing to receive no financial support
- Warnings were given of possible challenges to local authorities following government funding support to many of their traders; then followed with rent free periods and the introduction of Covid secure measures funded at the public expense – with high street tenants receiving no similar support.
- Local authority support in administering funding pots has been diverse with different local criteria and varying levels of financial help. This highlighting the need for government to be more prescriptive when allocating funds in future to the retail industry.
- A reminder that trader financial support from government is primarily to help offset rents and business expenses
- Some evidence is emerging of applications being made to the Opening Up of the High Street Safely Fund that is available for certain costs in reopening markets. NABMA encourages all operators to look to the local pots as provided
- Many traders are demonstrating innovation and diversifying to on line trading, click and collect, deliveries etc. Concerns are evident that more long established traders are struggling though to embrace social media, on line set up etc.
- Encouraging enquiries have started from potential new traders for several markets
- The reduction of use by public transport hubs next to markets, and home working, has significantly impacted on many markets
- Cashless markets are now a major change in progress
- Markets have integrated and are working well with high street retailers and partners in start back for the high street
- The NABMA #Mymarket campaign is being welcomed and used widely on PR material
Finally, our congratulations to all market managers and officers for successfully reopening their markets recognising the extreme pressures, scrutiny and expectations that have been faced and met in such a caring and professional manner.