More police to patrol Broadway Market after crowds flock for cocktails and beer

People out in Broadway Market on Saturday April 25, 2020.

People out in Broadway Market on Saturday April 25, 2020. - Credit: Archant

Broadway Market will have increased police presence this weekend to make sure people stick to social distancing guidance – after huge crowds gathered to enjoy cocktails in the weekend sunshine.

People out in Broadway Market on Saturday April 25, 2020.

People out in Broadway Market on Saturday April 25, 2020. - Credit: Archant

Photos circulated on social media showing crowds taking advantage of cafes and bars selling beer, Aperol spritz and homemade sangria by the glass.

Hackney mayor Phil Glanville said the council is aware of social distancing concerns in some areas of the borough, and vowed to act.

He said: “At Broadway Market, we’ve closed the street market, but the government is allowing some businesses to operate as takeaways.

“Police and council enforcement officers were deployed to the area on Sunday, and, from this weekend, we are proposing to suspend parking, close Broadway Market to through-traffic and deploy additional police and council officers to advise people and businesses to stick to the guidance.”

The mayor said the council was working with police across the borough and deploying officers where needed.

Sian Barrett is a key worker, working in a homeless hostel. She lives in Welshpool House off Broadway Market and says it’s becoming almost impossible for her to buy groceries, and that the problem is not just at weekends.

Most Read

She said: “The market is getting more and more crowded because non-essential businesses are selling ridiculous drinks, and people are lingering and gathering a lot more.

“Even during the week people are buying drinks, lingering, no social distancing. It was impossible [on Saturday] and I had to turn back from walking along the market to get some veg from Costcutters. At one point myself and my neighbours reckon there were 1,800 people in the market.”

Sian says she’s not interested in finger pointing and believes the blame lies with the government.

She continued: “We’ve got one of the highest rates of deaths in Europe and yet we’ve got the government and Keir Starmer talking about: ‘When is the lockdown going to finish?’.

“For ordinary people we want to see more PPE, more testing and more contact tracing to reduce the spreading of the virus and the amount of deaths.

“It’s no wonder when I walk through Broadway Market people are out and about. The messages are not clear.

“What I don’t want to see is loads of police on the streets because I don’t think it’s going to solve it. It’s a top down issue.”

A spokesperson for El Ganso, one of the businesses selling drinks, told the Gazette it had now, along with its neighbouring restaurant Bella Vita, decided to stop.

They said: “The crowds on the weekend had very little to do with a single individual business in the industry which was hit first and hardest and will come to any sort of normality last.

“We did everything we should to try and enforce social distancing in front of our shop but the whole street was so full it was literally impossible to walk past anyone without brushing shoulders.

“We have taken the decision to stop selling drinks but it will do very little to help ease the congestion next time the weather is like that on a weekend.”