Relief for 'over the moon' traders as Newcastle's Quayside Market makes comeback

Video report by Katie Cole


Traders have made a long-awaited return to Newcastle's Quayside Market for the first time in 2021 this weekend.

The Sunday market has been unable to open since December due to lockdown measures, but will be back on April 18.


50%

is the initial capacity the market will be able to operate at


News of its comeback has come as a massive relief to its collection of local, independent traders.

We are only going to be there every other weekend to start with, but it is better than nothing. It is essential now, we can't keep going the way we have. This is vital income for us every week that we have not had for months. Hopefully the Quayside Market will be back to its full glory soon. I think it will do well because of the fact that people probably don't want to be going indoors.

Poppy Solari, market trader

Social distancing restrictions mean that the market will only have room for half of its usual traders, with businesses allowed to trade on alternate weeks at the 60 stalls.

Security marshals will be told to disperse crowds if the market gets too busy on Sunday and shoppers are being told that they must wear a face covering and are encouraged to use hand sanitiser stations at the site.

Stalls at the Quayside Market

Leslie Armstrong said she was "over the moon" to be taking her Scented Melts stall back the Quayside this weekend and expects it to be "heaving" on Sunday if the weather stays nice.

She also trades at the Grainger Market and was thrilled to be back open again on Monday when lockdown restrictions were eased to allow non-essential retail to reopen.

Leslie added: "Monday was such a relief, to have people coming back. I was ecstatic, I actually cried on Monday night when I knew that customers had come back - because that is what you worry about as a trader."

Traders were dismayed when the Quayside Market was closed by Newcastle City Council last September, with civic centre bosses claiming it was "not possible to ensure Covid-secure protocols" at the outdoor market.

It was allowed to return in December, trading on Saturdays and Sundays in the run-up to Christmas, but was then shut down again when the third national lockdown came into force.

The Quayside Market is one of the iconic features of our great city, and we know how tough it has been for traders with their businesses being significantly impacted by Covid-19. It's been fantastic to see the buzz returning to the city as more and more businesses have been able to reopen, and the Quayside Market is certainly a welcome addition in terms of supporting the reopening of our city. We're really looking forward to seeing its return, and just ask that visitors be careful in and around the stalls and remember that the virus still poses a significant threat to our communities. We’ve been working with traders to make sure the market is as safe as possible, and hope everyone else is as excited for its return as we are.

Michelle Percy, Director of place, Newcastle City Council

From this week, the Quayside Market will be open between 9am and 4pm each Sunday.