Lib Dem opposition councillors have criticised the delays and confusion created by Labour councillors who have doubled-down on their decision to shut Cambridge's open-air market, despite new national lockdown guidelines clearly specifying that outdoor market stalls selling essential supplies can continue to trade. The opposition group remains concerned that the prolonged closure is forcing vulnerable people into indoor shops for their essential supplies.
City centre representative Cllr Anthony Martinelli commented: "We know that the situation with COVID-19 is critical at the moment, but continued closure by the Council makes no sense. It is now a week since the shutdown was announced and yet there seems to be no plan or timeline for reopening the market, which government guidelines would permit to open. Any issues with the square should be resolved by using the city's covid marshalls more effectively to ensure social distancing - we do not understand why this is taking so long.
"Whilst outdoor crowding can, of course, risk viral spread we can already see that footfall in Cambridge is down significantly after the Christmas holidays. Now that we are in national lockdown, the rules are much clearer with only essential trips being permitted.
"Residents will quite rightly feel they are being denied the opportunity to shop safely outdoors purely through political obstinacy. The 1500 people who have signed our petition over the last five days clearly agree that the more open air shopping spaces that are available to residents at the moment, the better. The market should reopen immediately with improved management.”