TRADERS have sprinkled a bit of festive cheer on the historic Covered Market to lift some of the lockdown gloom.

Although 2020 has been different for all the wrong reasons, businesses in the Oxford institution have maintained the tradition of setting up their own Christmas tree.

The activity has brought traders together for decades and several converged on the main central square, by the entrance to the Golden Cross shopping arcade.

The market has remained open during the second national lockdown, with fresh food sales, deliveries, takeaways and click-and-collect from non-essential retail all still taking place.

Read also: Covered Market traders united during coronavirus crisis

This year, visitors will see special decorations over the Market Street entrances, donated by market florist The Garden of Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

Covered Market traders with the tree Picture: Verity Hoper

Owner Paul Birtles said: “Putting up the big tree in the central square is something all of the Covered Market traders look forward to, and has become something of a tradition in recent years.

“The tree comes from Greenfield Farm at Christmas Common near Watlington and this year’s specimen is as good as we have ever had.

“This year for the first time, our talented team of florists have created festive arches over the the four Market Street entrances with winter foliage and lights.

“The Garden has funded two of these arches as a Christmas gift to our fellow traders and as a thank you to all the wonderful customers who support the independent traders by visiting our market.

“This year, of all years, we need that support.”

Oxmas: Our campaign to support independent businesses

Our sister paper The Oxford Times is promoting independent businesses, many of whom inhabit the market, throughout lockdown with our Oxmas campaign.

The initiative is in partnership with Oxford City Council, Independent Oxford and Experience Oxfordshire.

Mary Clarkson, the city council’s cabinet member for city centre, Covered Market and culture said: “If you go down there now you’ll feel quite festive.

Oxford Mail:

Mary Clarkson Picture: Richard Cave

“All credit to them – the market looks gorgeous and The Garden has created some lovely arches.

“They’ve been under huge pressure and it’s not been an easy year, but they’ve really pulled out all the stops.”