A weekly high street market run by Epping Town Council was called off following uproar from after it was announced it would run amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Epping Town Market is held every Monday on High Road, Epping, where several traders gather to sell a range of goods to residents.

On Thursday, March 19, Epping Town Council announced the market would open on Monday, March 23, stating: “We hope traders will be able to bring vital supplies for our community. Please take extra care whilst out and about.”

Backlash quickly followed on social media with people urging the council to reconsider their decision, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, calling it “reckless” and “irresponsible”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres to close to prevent further cases and pressure on thr NHS from Friday, March 20.

The Prime Minister said that nightclubs, should close their doors from Friday

At his daily Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said the measures were needed to reduce "unnecessary" social gatherings by 75 per cent in order to have an impact on the infection rate.

David Cooper, chair of Ivy Chimneys Primary School’s governing body said: “I find this an astonishing decision in the current situation.

“Current government advice to employers is that businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible and to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to others.

“This decision which seems cavalier and contrary to the advice given by government. By all accounts, lives are at stake. “

Councillor Holly Whitbread of Epping Lindsey and Thornwood Common ward also expressed her disapproval on Twitter, saying: “Surely Epping Town Council are not going ahead with the market tomorrow.

“It goes completely against government guidance. North Weald Market was cancelled by Epping Forest District Council which is in a far more open space.”

Councillor Cherry McCredie of Epping Hemnall ward responded: “Yes these are unprecedented times. The decision to keep the market open this Monday is following the guidelines of the National Market Association.

“The market, at the moment, is going ahead but people are not 'press ganged' into attending.”

Epping Town Councillor, Christine Burgess, praised Cllr McCredie’s response but commented: “I feel that it should close next week if people act irresponsibly. Take care all of you.”

Epping Town Council tweeted the market would no longer go ahead on Sunday, March 22, tweeting: “Epping Monday Market is cancelled on Monday 23rd March 2020 for the foreseeable future.”

Several people responded in delight to the council’s decision saying thank you and it was the right decision.

Epping Town Council are closed until Friday, April 20, to contact the council team, call 01992 579444 or email info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk