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Covid Expeiences

Notes made as to market re-opening experiences.

(Please send us your notes so we can update this list)

Tonbridge (Steve Wood) Second market.

I wanted our markets to be a place where shoppers feel safe even if the stall holders feel a bit uncomfortable consequently all stall holders must wear a face covering when they were public facing and most now offer to accept card payment
We limited the numbers allowed into the market at anyone time to 90

Overall number of customers was down, about 1100, but spend was up.

Aylesford (Steve Wood) First Market

Customer numbers were up vs normal, about 1200, and the spend was up with some stall holders saying it was like Christmas.

Layout same as we had at Tonbridge.

In summary I was happy with both the markets. My main concern is the queues when winter comes, but we will all have to deal with that when it happens. At both markets I think I will need to keep the marshals for the foreseeable future. This at the moment is my biggest extra expense.

Getting the producers to read the emails I send them is a big problem.

Penshurst (Mary Gwynn) First Market

The clearly signposted entrance with hand sanitiser and one way system was a reassuring start. The new site with three sides was easy to operate and we borrowed loads of cones from a local business to mark everything clearly. Informing customers in the entrance queue what to expect worked really well. I could tell them where producers were in the new layout and what they could buy.

We intended to stay open till 12.30 but the main rush was between 9 and 10.00 and it quietened down after 11. Several stalls had sold out by 11 and everyone did well. We had 350 visitors through - useful to have one entrance and be able to click them in and out. We did keep well within the numbers on site allowed per m2 for 1m social distancing when we were at our busiest and to the 2m one for a lot of the time so feel happy that we were within guidelines.

Layout: The bottleneck with Veg needs addressing as it impacted on customers trying to get out of the market, we will run a queue so that customers can pass more easily, probably at the end of the market (Veg stallholder also needs more help so she can serve people faster and maybe round up her sums so there isnít so much change being handled). The one way system worked well.  We think one entrance rather than two lanes will ensure people canít come in at the one open side.  

The public: Customers overall seemed very happy to have us back, lots of compliments and only a couple of moaners. We need to make sure customers donít come on site before the market is formally opened at 9.00 am at the earliest. Customers making advance orders need to be told by the producer that they wonít be allowed to pick them up until after 9 as we are not insured for the public to be on site until the manager has declared the market ready to open. Maybe it could be suggested they come later when the market is quiet before it closes to pick up orders.

Next market:The biggest challenge seems to be getting some of the stallholders to actually read the information emails we send them and adhere to the social distancing guidelines! And the same with some of the customers!

Other things that worked well were timed slots for stallholders to arrive and a blackboard with all the producers listed at the start of the market. There were some ongoing problems with the signal for cards even with a booster from Penhurst Place but most came with cash and cards and a mixture of both seemed to work.
We will have more signs out of the car park to tell people where the new entrance is. We wonít need so many marshals so the committee should be enough. (Penshurst customers on the whole are a well behaved lot !).