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THE Port Douglas Markets will be back for the first time in three months when stallholders descend onto Market Park on Sunday.

Local businesses, regular stallholders and market-lovers are rejoicing at the return of idyllic seaside trading, which is expected to draw in visitors from surrounding regions.

Douglas Shire Council crews have been pressure cleaning slabs, tables and benches in Market Park and Rex Smeal Park in preparation for the return.

After Sunday, Council will review the markets and social distancing behaviours to see if it can safely continue, or if any further easing of restrictions are possible.

Douglas Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Mark Stoermer said more than 160 stallholders expressed their interest to trade at the Sunday markets.

“Council staff have put in an exceptional effort to meet various Covid-19 health requirements and safely increase the number of traders allowed from 70 to 90,” he said.

“Unfortunately, not everyone can be accommodated and a rotational roster has been drafted with the intent looking at how we can prioritize local stallholders for future markets.

“If we receive advice that markets can continue safely past Sunday, we will allocate additional resources to verify whether stallholders are local or from outside the region, and put Douglas traders first.”

Staff will continue to monitor the status of the markets in line with the Queensland Government’s Covid-19 Health Directives and Roadmap to Easing Restrictions.

Some services that will be unable to operate until further notice are:

  • Buskers (to limit cash transactions and prevent people congregating)
  • Stalls offering services that require personal contact or prolonged proximity with customers including but not limited to: massage services; hair braiding services; fortune telling services

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the return of the markets was an important milestone on the road to economic recovery.

“Bringing a buzz back with the Port Douglas Markets is not just fantastic for the economy, it is a really important event for community well-being,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to seeing a positive vibe out there on Sunday.”

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