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Bermondsey Street Festival reinvented as market due to pandemic

London SE1 website team

The Bermondsey Street Festival hosted a street market on Saturday in a scaled-down version of the annual local celebration.

Bermondsey Street Festival reinvented as market due to pandemic
Street entertainers added an element of the usual festival atmosphere to the market
Bermondsey Street Festival reinvented as market due to pandemic
Guidance on the use of face coverings was not universally heeded
Bermondsey Street Festival reinvented as market due to pandemic
Suhel Ahmed of Tower Tandoori in front of his restaurant's stall

It's the fourteenth year of the Bermondsey Street Festival which in non-pandemic times stretches across several local parks as well as the street itself.

This year the volunteer organisers decided to press on with a street market which is permissible under current regulations.

Staples of the festival – such as maypole dancing, the dog show and mobile farm – were missing this year, but many of the usual craft, food and drink traders set up stalls in the street to sell their wares.

Despite low-key publicity for this year's event, crowds of people flocked to Bermondsey Street, encouraged by warm and sunny weather.

Signs along the street urged visitors to wear face coverings unless exempt, but compliance was variable.

The festival market was held the day after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for further restrictions on social gatherings in the face of rising levels of COVID-19 cases.

"I strongly urge all Londoners to be as cautious as possible over this weekend," said Mr Khan.

"Please think very carefully about your actions – strictly follow social distancing rules, regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering to help reduce the spread of the virus."


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