Criticism of safety measures in place at the weekly market have been met with a strong defence by the clerk to Machynlleth Town Council responsible for the event. In a lengthy Facebook post, clerk Jim Griffiths hit back at criticism of social distancing and other measures at the market, stating that people needed to use common sense.
He said: “Before the market reopened, every trader was sent an information pack outlining the expectations of the council. Many of our regular traders have not returned as they are not comfortable to do so. This is their choice, nobody will lose a ‘pitch’ if they defer returning.
“They were all asked to adhere to the expectations for a safe return of the market. Many have now introduced a ‘cash-free’ paying system which didn’t exist before. They were all issued with a number of poster templates regarding the social distancing, touching of goods, mask wearing and flow guides for stalls. They were all advised regarding hygiene and sanitizing expectations.”
He added: “There are absolutely no powers, laws, sanctions that the town council, county council, police or any other agency have to change anything if the stalls operate lawfully. The council has no powers to ban a stall for not having sanitizer. Not one of the food stalls allows goods to be handled if not buying.
“Nobody can enforce a flow up one side of the road and down the other side. Nobody can enforce mask wearing on the street. The distancing between stalls has been increased. There is clear guidance to stall holders not to cause ‘bottlenecks’ but the pavements and buildings sometimes cause an area that is narrower than needed and this is taken into consideration.
“The only way that the town council can deal with some of the complaints is to close the market completely. How many would be complaining then? The biggest ‘problem’ that the market faces is people’s lack of common sense.
“Why doesn’t everyone who has a view come down to the Plas next Wednesday morning, get issued with a yellow vest, and help ‘police’ the pavements and distribute social distancing guidelines and give verbal advice? It’s very easy to throw ‘brickbats’ on social media.”
From an article in the Powys Country Times.