No activity other than Tuesday livestock sales and Friday farmers markets will be allowed at Melton Livestock Market as the operators bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Today’s announcement means the Tavern pub will close for an indefinite period, car boot, Sunday market and fur and feather sales will be suspended and all units and trade stalls will cease operating for now.
Activities at the ancient market will be confined to the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs on Tuesdays and the farmers’ food market on Fridays.
Hugh Brown, CEO of Melton Mowbray Market, told the Melton Times: “We’ve decided to restrict the market to just the process of buying and selling cattle, pigs and sheep and the farmers markets to keep the food supply going and to protect our staff from this outbreak.
“We haven’t been told to close the other parts of the market but the government is advising against going to large gatherings and the message is pretty clear.
“It is a big blow to us and to the town of Melton to lose parts of the market for however long it takes.
Mr Brown added: “We had over 4,500 sheep today and 650 cattle.
“We’ve never been busier but we realise there is a challenge ahead.
“This is a fast-moving issue and we don’t know when things will be back to normal but we are hoping we can bring back all the things which make the market great as soon as possible.”