Finally open, that was the feeling at Wigton Market yesterday as stallholders were able to open for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

Traders set up their stalls, two meters apart and set to work for the day, with signage clear and traders taking extra precautions to keep themselves – and their much-loved customers safe.

Feeling the market should never have been closed in the first place stall holder Barry Shaw of Shaw meats was pleased to be back.

He said: “The market should never have stopped, it has a huge impact on a lot of traders who’ve not been able to trade for the last few months.

"We’ve been lucky, we managed to do a lot of deliveries but those who couldn’t have felt the pinch.

“We’ve had to think out of the box to keep going and it’s great to welcome back our customers and move forward.”

The market has seen a few changes to help with social distancing.

Markets manager for Allerdale council, Phil Byers, said: "We’re really pleased to be back up and running.

"We have installed signage to remind people of the rules and installed a hand sanitising station, which lots of people are using.

“It’s a huge relief to have the market back open and we’re still working to get the rest open.”

Taking extra precautions is June Kitchen who runs the free-range egg stall.

She said: “We didn’t know what to expect but we have gloves, masks and sanitiser to keep us and our customers safe.”

Finally able to pick up his much-loved items from the market, Raymond Johnston, from Wigton, said: “It’s spot on. I’ve missed the market. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be here.

“I would rather come down to the market than go into the shops where there are lots of people.

"At least on the market you’re not stuck inside and it’s safer to be outdoors than stuck in a shop. The signage and safety is spot on.”

The restart in Wigton follows on from the successful return of markets in Workington and Keswick last week which saw shoppers and traders return for the first time since March.