BLACKBURN and Darwen’s market halls have been closed to the public because of the coronavirus outbreak.

They shut their doors tonight but traders will still be able to use the premises to support their online businesses.

Nelson and Colne markets also closed at 5pm today.

Blackburn with Darwen Council closed the two markets in Church Street, Blackburn and Croft Street, Darwen, on public health grounds and because of falling trade.

Borough deputy leader Cllr Phil Riley said: “We decided to close the two markets on public health grounds.

“There were very few stalls open and those traders still operating felt at risk.

“Stallholders can still use the premises to support their online businesses.

“That is the way they want to go.

“In the current situation that is the sensible thing to do.

“There were very few customers and very few stalls operating and they will now concentrate on their online operations.

"We have a duty to protect their welfare.”