WATCH: Wolverhampton's outdoor markets reopen

Shoppers flocked to Black Country open-air markets which reopened today for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began.

Trader Katie Compton at Wolverhampton city centre market
Trader Katie Compton at Wolverhampton city centre market

The markets in Bilston, Wednesfield and Wolverhampton city centre reopened on Saturday under new guidelines, as the council set out a phased return plan to keep traders and shoppers safe.

New measures included a separate entrance and exit, a guided one-way system, a managed maximum capacity at any given time and extra security.

A sanitisation station was also in place at the entrance to Wolverhampton city centre market, and security were asking customers about their health before they entered.

In the first phase shoppers are able to purchase meat, poultry, fish, cheese, cooked meats, frozen foods, bakery products, fruit and vegetables, household goods, pet supplies and confectionery.

Wolverhampton's city centre market reopens to the public

Jo Till, markets manager, said they had 1,000 people in the market by midday, which was more than they were expecting but less than the 3,000 to 4,000 they would usually see on a Saturday.

She added: "We had a really good day. We've got a sanitiser station and they're being asked questions about if they've been around anyone unwell.

A customer sanitizes his hands on entry

"People feel a lot safer here than at supermarkets.

"We've got a one-way system and queues too with marked areas.

A customer is questioned by security before entering the market

"There's a really open feel as everyone is spaced out. We've got the measures in place to protect customers but also to protect the traders.

"A lot of the customers have said they feel a lot more comfortable after coming here than the supermarkets as we have extra regulations in place.

Butcher Katie Compton serves a customer

"Some traders have said they've done as well as a normal Saturday and a few sold out. They're over the moon to be back trading again, they were raring to go.

"Footfall is definitely down, on a normal Saturday we'd expect 3,000 to 4,000, but it's the first market so we expected it to be lower.

"It's going to be a process building peoples' confidence.

Paul Peacock serves customer Margaret Johnson

"The traders we have are familiar with hygiene regulations and they've upped their game now putting additional measures in place."

And Katie Compton, from Compton Butchers, said she "couldn't wait" to be back trading after being closed for six weeks.

Trader Jeremy Watson gives the thumbs up to the reopening of the market

She said: "We've been closed for six weeks, it was awful.

"It was amazing when I heard we could reopen, I couldn't wait to come back.

Customers queuing to enter the market

"It's been very busy, we've had a lot of customers come back.

"The social distancing is brilliant, there's security here too.

"It's so much better than supermarkets, there's so much space here."

Trader Paul Peacock serving

Trader Jeremy Watson thanked the council for opening the market.

He said: "It's been absolutely brilliant, thank you Wolverhampton Council for giving us a chance to open up.

Trader Jeremy Watson serving the customers

"I was very surprised at the numbers here."

Customer Margaret Jones said: "I'm glad it's open because I love my meat from the market and my potatoes.

"It makes you feel better that things are starting to open."

Butcher Katie Compton serving

The second phase will see traders of takeaway food, mobile phone, vapes, and key cutting and shoe repair return, with the third stage seeing the markets open fully.

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