South Shields market traders delighted to see customers on first day of reopening after lockdown

South Shields market traders say it is good to be back at their stalls after months of closure during lockdown.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 9:45 am

The popular South Shields flea market returned on Friday, April 16, following the latest easing of restrictions on Monday, April 12, allowing non-essential retail to reopen.

Traders and shoppers were delighted to be back at the Market Place in the town centre, with trader Jeanette Burton saying she was pleased to see so many shoppers return on the first day back.

Jeanette, 84, from Sunderland, who has ran her stall at South Shields market as a hobby for 30 years, said: “The first say back has been canny. I didn’t think it was going to be this busy.

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It was a sunny day for the first market since lockdown.

"I think it has been the hardest lockdown yet so I am pleased to see all my regulars again.

"I have had both my vaccines and I think people are a lot more confident [about returning to the market] this time.”

As seen previously during the Covid pandemic, safety measures are in place at the market with visitors asked to follow a one-way system.

Security stewards are hand to ensure visitors can browse safely and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Trader Derek Gibson has enjoyed chatting to his customers at South Shields market.

Stall holder Michelle Dunning from Chester-le-Street has also been trading at the market for more than 30 years.

She said: “It is nice to see the old faces and the people who come every week.

“It has been quite busy – I think it has been busier than when we returned after the past lockdowns.

"I’m glad to be back – it’s a bit of normality.”

Shoppers at the first South Shields market following the easing of lockdown.

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For trader Derek Gibson, 70, from Hebburn, his best-selling item of the day were face masks, saying that shoppers had found his masks to be cheaper than those in shops.

Derek, who has had his stall for 32 years, said: “It’s surprising how many people want them as I thought they would have had them by now.

“But people have been saying they are expensive in the shops.”

Trader Michelle Dunning is glad to be back at South Shields market.

He added: "It is good to be back – it’s not about the money, it’s just good to get out and talk to people.

"It’s been lovely to see my regulars who have come back to see me. It has been a long time."

Derek believes the market is busier with older people than it has been previously and put this down to the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

“Most of the people I have spoken to say they have had their second vaccine and feel safer,” he said.

Tommy Roberts, 82, from Brockley Whins, was among the shoppers who had come to visit the market on its first day of reopening, stopping to browse after a pint at The Novelist.

"It’s nice to be back,” he said.

Shopper Tommy Roberts at South Shields market.

The popular flea market will run on Fridays and the traditional market will be held on Saturdays, with the first Saturday market set to take place on April 17.

The flea market will be held on Fridays from 9.30am to 3pm.

The traditional market will be held on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

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First South Shields market following easing of lockdown.
Shoppers browsing the stalls at the first South Shields market following the easing of lockdown.
First South Shields market following easing of lockdown. Trader Jeanette Burton.