CONCERNS have been raised about a lack of social distancing in one of Cumbria’s most popular market towns.

Keswick’s market place was visited by a “sea of people” on Saturday, with onlookers suggesting social distancing guidance was not being followed.

Paul King, 68, from Whickham, Newcastle, was staying in Keswick at the weekend and was shocked by what he saw.

He said: “We returned from a walk on the fells and couldn’t believe the amount of people in the market place and around.

"Social distancing was non-existent. It’s as if people believe the virus has gone away. Surely they should have a system in place for where to walk.”

Eddie Pede, deputy manager at The Royal Oak, in Main Street Keswick, said there was a “sea of people” in the market place.

He thinks more could be done to prevent crowds and says there should be stricter measures in place to help maintain social distancing including more signage.

“People don’t think. They sometimes don’t realise that the pandemic is still here, and probably have no family members, relatives or friends affected by it so it doesn’t sink into them,” he said.

“Keswick can be very busy, it’s a flow of people anyway. Even for the shops there are queues at the moment. But other than that it was a sea of people.”

Allerdale Council, which runs Keswick Market, said it has taken measures to keep people as safe as possible, following Government guidelines and advice from The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).

The market is being run at a reduced capacity to allow extra space for traders and members of the public to move freely. There is also signage to remind visitors of social distancing guidelines and to encourage frequent hand-washing, with hand sanitiser units in place across market sites it operates.

An Allerdale Council spokesman said: “At Keswick Market, we also have stewards and council staff on hand through the whole day to advise on social distancing and help manage queues, and have created new walkways and made others wider to create more space on the site.

“We ask that anyone attending our markets please adhere to social distancing and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those customers and traders who’ve returned and adhered to these guidelines.”