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Borough Market becomes first outdoor space to makes masks compulsory

London's Borough Market is the first outdoor space in the UK to legally enforce face masks. The rule change means that both customers and traders will need to wear a face covering at all times or risk a £50 fine. With infection rates rising at alarming rates, we may soon see other outdoor spaces follow suit.

Borough Market has remained open since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing the local community with access to essential produce. Throughout this time, the Market’s main priority has been to keep customers, traders and staff as safe as possible.

Among the numerous safety measures that have been introduced since the first lockdown, the wearing of masks has been strongly encouraged – and most shoppers have been more than happy to comply.

However, with infection rates in London currently soaring, the Market’s trustees have taken the decision to enforce the wearing of masks throughout the entire estate, including the parts that are outdoors.

Current government regulations do not make masks a legal requirement outdoors, but under a set of by-laws dating back to 1829, the trust has the power to take a firmer stance and has updated its regulations accoordingly.

As part of the same revision of the Market’s rules, consumption of food and drink will, for the time being, also be prohibited on the estate. All food or drink, including anything bought from the produce traders or the Borough Market Kitchen, must be taken away from the site.

The expectation is that the new rules will be willingly embraced by visitors to the Market, but anyone who fails to respond to requests from security staff to wear masks or to move on with their food will face a £50 fine. Visitors who forget to bring a mask will be able to pick one up at the entrance.

Adrian Bunnis, chair of the Market’s trustees, said, “Keeping our shopping community and our traders as safe as possible has to be our top priority. We have now decided to enforce the wearing of masks through our by-laws in the knowledge that the vast majority of our customers will support this. With London being the epicentre of the new coronavirus variant, we feel we have a duty to the community to do this so they can shop in confidence.”

Controlled entrances and exits are in operation to ease the flow of visitors.