STALLHOLDERS at Rotherham's indoor market were fearful about what the future could hold this morning (Tuesday).
Some traders were unsure about whether they would survive if the market closed down to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Lyndsey Otterwell, of Pair Footwear, said: “Everyone’s panicking — we have all got families and elderly relatives to look after but we can’t afford not to be here.
“If we do weather through it and come out the other end, what are we going to come out to?
“Are people going to say you don’t need to come out anymore and you can get it all online?
“This could be the end of small businesses.”
Pair Footwear has been running as a family business for 49 years.
Mrs Otterwell said she had already seen a downturn in footfall in recent days.
“We have had some of our hardier customers — we have built up a nice, regular customer base,” she said.
“I think we can survive if the market closes but it won’t be easy.”
Ann Savage, of Ann’s Candy, and Jack’s Cafe, said staff were scared about what could happen in the coming weeks.
“We have a lot of vulnerable people who are regular customers,” she said.
“If they have got to self-isolate, what’s going to happen to these people?
“We have just got stay positive.”
Ann’s Candy has been open for two years and Jack’s Cafe has been open for a year.
“We are just going to keep going as long as we can and if everybody at this market helps each other we will be fine,” said Ann.
Joanne Wright, manageress of K.D. Davis and Sons fruit and vegetable stall, is handing out leaflets promoting the firm’s home delivery service in the event of a lock-down.
The firm, which has had a stall at the indoor market for 20 years, can deliver fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish to customer’s doors across the country and is planning to roll out the service up to six days a week.
Ms Wright said: “We are absolutely fine — but you never know what’s going to happen.
“We are going to try and get our deliveries to people who are on lockdown every day.
“We are doing what we can in a crisis.
“It will affect the small traders a lot more than us.”
Ms Wright said it was important to stay positive.
“If everyone sees you getting down about it then everyone panic buys,” she said.