CAMBRIDGE market will temporarily close from 1 January to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the city.
Cambridge City Council has taken the decision to close the market, in discussion with public health partners, to avoid attracting people to the city centre.
Earlier this week, in spite of the Tier 4 stay at home regulations, large crowds of people were seen gathering in and around the market square and also congregating in nearby areas such as King’s Parade.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly but it is clear that we have a rapidly rising rate of coronavirus cases in Cambridge, especially in working-age adults and children, and we need people to act now to keep themselves and keep their loved ones safe.
“Tier 4 includes a stay at home order but what we are seeing in the city centre is a lot of people coming out not just for essential shopping, but to visit the city, buy takeaway food, and mingle in crowded spaces.
“Our public health partners are clear that while outdoor spaces are generally safer than indoor spaces, crowded outdoor locations, where people can’t socially distance, also help the virus to spread.
“We need to ensure people can maintain a safe two metre distance from one another and when the market square is busy that is not possible.
“We strongly encourage people to shop locally wherever they can and visit the city centre only if they need to.
“We are aware that this is very difficult for market traders who rely on their stalls for their livelihood. We will work with them to offer support and we will reopen the market as soon as we are confident that it is safe to do so.”
The market will be open tomorrow (Thursday 31 December) but will be closed from Friday 1 January until further notice.
Val Thomas, Deputy Director of Public Health, said: “Cases of the virus are spreading rapidly through Cambridge with increased incidence in people of working age and outbreaks in a range of settings.
“This means it is really important that we act to keep people’s contact with anyone outside their household /support bubble to the absolute minimum.
“It is contact with other people which spreads the virus and that includes crowded outdoor locations where people can’t easily stay two metres apart.
“My message to Cambridge residents is to stay home and reduce their contact with people outside for their household or support bubble. As ever, people should make sure rooms are well ventilated and follow ‘hands, face, space’ rules.”
Information about the number of cases in Cambridge is published here: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases?areaType=ltla&areaName=Cambridge
The council is also urging people to ask for help if they need it during the Tier 4 stay at home coronavirus restrictions as a range of support is on offer:
- Anyone who needs help or support that could be safely provided by volunteers can contact their local ward group: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-ask-for-help or tel: 01223 457000.
- Details of support for people experiencing financial difficulty, including Test and Trace Support Payments, are here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-financial-support-for-residents
- People who are unable to pay for food or other necessities, can get help from Cambridge Foodbank or Cambridge Sustainable Food
- People who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless will also be offered support https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/get-help-to-avoid-becoming-homeless and anyone who is concerned about an individual can contact the Cambridge Street Outreach Team.
- For those people whose mental health is being more severely impacted, there is the Lifeline support number 0808 808 2121 which operates daily from 11am to 11pm. Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can phone the NHS 111 number and ask for Option 2. More information about mental health support is available on the Keep Your Head website https://www.keep-your-head.com/
- Further advice on looking after yourself is available here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-look-after-yourself
Cllr Moore added: “We are acutely aware that the Tier 4 restrictions which require us to stay at home will be very difficult for some people.
“I encourage anyone who needs help to ask for it, whether that’s help with food, finances, their mental health or something else.
“While we don’t know how long we will be in Tier 4, we can be sure that we can all play our part by following the rules. That is the best way to stop the virus spreading and stop the pressure mounting on our NHS.
“The council continues to focus its efforts on helping people who are most vulnerable, directly through our own services, as well as through the superb hub network of voluntary groups which are doing such brilliant work in all parts of the city.”
Full details of what Tier 4 means for people living in Cambridge are on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home and for more information on the national rules and tiers visit https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions