WEEKLY markets in both Braintree and Witham town centres are set to return.

Braintree Council has revealed plans for a phased reopening of the markets, with the one in Witham returning this Saturday (June 6).

Braintree's weekly market will meanwhile make its comeback next Wednesday (June 10).

A number of new safety measures are set to be introduced to ensure all stallholders and customers comply with social distancing restrictions.

These include changes to the position of stalls, increase hygiene facilities and measures, as well as signage to remind customers how to stay safe when waiting to be served.

Traders will be encouraged to provide contactless payment where possible, use hand sanitiser and work with customers to ensure safe queuing.

If customers are paying by cash, they are being asked to provide the correct change where possible.

Customers are also being asked to wash their hands as often as they can, browse but not touch items on the stalls and to keep a safe distance.

Traders are being invited back to the markets in a phased approach to ensure adequate space for customers and the traders to shop and browse safely and maintain social distancing.

Braintree Council's economic boss Tom Cunningham said: "As we begin to slowly return to normality, the re-opening our high streets will be key to kick-starting our economic recovery.

"The safety of our customers, traders and market team is our utmost priority, and we’re supporting our traders to ensure they have measures in place to operate safely when they return to the market over the next few weeks.

"We know people are eager to return to the markets and support our traders, and we urge people to remember to follow the safety advice in place, to keep social distancing and keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible.”

Both markets have remained partially open throughout the coronavirus pandemic to allow shoppers to buy food and essential items from a small number of stalls.

However, only a handful of traders have continued to attend.