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‘I’m here to state that I’m back’ - Norwich Market reopens with one-way system and new rules

PUBLISHED: 15:56 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 01 June 2020

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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As bouquets bloomed and the smell of bacon sandwiches wafted past, Norwich Market made its return.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

After fears over how its narrow aisles would cope in a socially distanced world, its team and traders set out to prove no obstacle was too great for the 900-year-old market.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Usually a hive of activity in the city, queues streaking from its stalls and people squeezing past each other, it was admittedly a quieter start.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Shoppers visited their favourite stalls, browsed colourful fresh produce or picked up some lunch in the sun.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

But any footfall was welcomed by its traders, with those who were open simply happy to see customers’ faces once again.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

With a one-way system in place, marked out by stickers on the floor and ‘no entry’ signs, and stallholders taking their own measures, it certainly wasn’t back to business as usual.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Alexander Pond, at Pond’s Flowers, was open for his first day after weeks away, which he largely spent enjoying his love of wildlife and bird-watching.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

He said: “I haven’t come back to earn a fortune, I’ve come back to state that I’m here. It’s not over yet and I don’t think it will be for a long time, but we’re back and people have to use their initiative.”

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

He said he hoped the pandemic would end up bringing out the best in people.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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READ MORE: What will a socially distanced Norwich Market look like?

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Up at Deb’s hot food stall, Deb Champion said they’d had a steady stream of customers, with the majority of people abiding by social distancing rules.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

And with a quick nudge, she said, even those who were slightly more relaxed about matters were happy to oblige.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Signs at her stall encouraged people to keep their distance, with a plate for cash designed to minimise contact.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

For some stallholders, their caution goes beyond business responsibility - many, including Deb, have unwell relatives to think of.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. James and Brendan, Mike, Debs and Sons Fruit and Veg Shop Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. James and Brendan, Mike, Debs and Sons Fruit and Veg Shop Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The market’s reopening attracted a flurry of interest - crews from local television stations made an early-morning visit, as well as a journalist from the Guardian newspaper, who had travelled up from London.

Norwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich Market re opens after lock down rules are eased. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

And there were plenty of eyes on hand to make sure all was well. Deb’s husband Shaun said the market was being patrolled by two traffic wardens, its managers and a security guard, and had received a visit from police officers.

Norwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren CopeNorwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren Cope

But while some people might have missed the arrows on the floor, or nipped around a corner in the wrong direction unnoticed, most seemed happy with the arrangements.

Norwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren CopeNorwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren Cope

One woman, 76, who hadn’t visited the market since lockdown began, took advantage of new rules on shielding to visit the butcher’s, saying she felt safe.

Norwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren CopeNorwich Market on the first day of opening after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are slightly lifted. Picture: Lauren Cope

READ MORE: Norwich Market to reopen with one-way system

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