Joy and confusion as West Bromwich indoor market reopens
There was joy and relief for traders and shoppers as a Black Country indoor market opened its doors for the first time in three months.
The indoor market, located at Kings Square shopping centre, West Bromwich, reopened yesterday after shutting on March 23 due to the lockdown.
New safety measures have been brought by Sandwell Council, which runs the market, to stop coronavirus spreading.
But there was confusion about a one way walking system installed between aisles which features arrows.
Ernest Bradley, 80, from Wednesbury, who was out shopping, said: "I was a coach driver for five years but I can't even find my way out of here."
Natalie Stevens, 41, from West Bromwich, who runs Flower Power Floral Design, said: "We don't really know what we are supposed to be doing. We have had a lot of customers asking us where they are supposed to go."
But there was a lot more customers at the indoor market than traders expected.
Ms Stevens added: "There was more people in the last ten minutes than the whole year. About three weeks before lockdown, it was horrendous. Footfall has been bad for a while anyway.
"To see the amount of people here this morning, it was quite nice. I just hope it stays."
Dave Griffiths, 49, from Wednesbury, who runs Dave's Pets, said: "It was massive for us to reopen. It is amazing how many customers have come here a short space of time."
Jill Jones, 64, from Wolverhampton, who runs D Jones Shoe Repairs and Key Cutting, said: "Hopefully the public will use the little shops again."
Her husband Dave, 63, added: "We have been through recessions. Hopefully we can pull through this too."
The market's management said 86 people were waiting to come in at 10am this morning. The operating hours have been reduced to 10am to 4pm.
Only 220 people are allowed inside at once and staff have been placed on the entrance to manage crowd sizes.
Other safety measures include hand-washing stations while a loudspeaker regularly reminds shoppers to maintain social distancing.