Shoppers flock back to reopened Cannock market
Tills rang out across a Staffordshire town as a popular high street market made its return.
Shoppers came out to take in the sounds and smells of Cannock's outdoor market, following its reopening after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
The market had been closed for more than three months during the pandemic, but was today able to reopen with a new layout that sees stalls run down Market Hall Street, with space on both sides to allow social distancing.
Despite unpredictable weather, there was a steady flow of shoppers, with stalls selling fruit and vegetables, hygiene products, bread and cakes and DVDs.
William McPherson from Cannock was in town to visit the market - and described it as somewhere to bring back the community feel for people.
The 55-year-old said: "Having the market back helps bring the social aspect of the town back into play, as people can meet again, albeit from a distance.
"I'd like to see more people wearing face masks, but it's generally positive to see people back out and take a step back to normalcy."
The stallholders had made their own arrangements to help people socially distance while shopping, with entrances and exits clearly marked and lines laid out on the ground for queueing.
Paul Walker, owner of Carl's Fruit and Vegetables, runs stalls at a number of markets, including at his hometown of Kidderminster, but the 53-year-old was delighted to have the opportunity to open up in Cannock again.
He said: "It means we can work again, as this is how I make a living and the lockdown meant I couldn't work or get paid.
"People have been loving seeing us back here and it's been busy today as people have been able to go out and do their shopping again."
Cannock Chase District Council worked with Sketts, the market owners, to ensure the market was ready to reopen, with hand sanitisers on each stall and social distancing signs displayed
Ian Sandford, who manages the market, said the response from the public had been very positive. The 64-year-old from Longbridge talked about his hopes for the weeks ahead.
He said: "We're limiting trade to Fridays at present, but it's just nice to be able to open the market up again after more than 13 weeks.
"With a bit of luck with the weather, we're expecting the market to increase in turnover for traders and public, so there's lots to look forward to for the market."