CHESTER and Ellesmere Port markets remain open for the purchase of essential food, groceries and pet supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has confirmed both markets, which are adhering to government guidance, are open from 8am until 5pm, with the first hour currently reserved for NHS staff and vulnerable customers.

A food and grocery delivery service is also available and traders can be contacted directly to arrange orders, collection and delivery wherever possible.

The council has warned that any anti-social or aggressive behaviour towards council staff or market traders will not be tolerated, and customers are asked to respect government guidelines and the challenges traders face at this difficult time.

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: "I would like to thank our market traders and staff. Markets have always been at the centre of our communities and now more than ever.

"Since starting their new delivery service last Thursday, market staff have helped to facilitate over 380 community deliveries of food via market traders across all our markets.

"All seating areas are now closed and we are asking customers to remember to apply social distancing rules and remain two metres (three steps) away from other people.

"Further guidance will be available at each market and we have stewards and floor tape to help customers with distancing. Please be a considerate shopper and not bulk buy, so that food supplies continue to be available for the whole community."

Chester market is open Monday to Saturday, while Ellesmere Port market is open every day bar Wednesday.

For a list of market traders' contact details, email or call 01244 973040. Priority on orders will be given to the elderly and vulnerable.