West Shore farmers markets are doing their best to cope with strict regulations during the pandemic – but not every vendor will be given a chance to sell their products.
Markets are only allowed to sell essentials, which includes produce, liquor, and prepared foods. This means that craft vendors won’t be there.
“We’re gonna miss them because they’re all part of our vibrant community,” said Jacqui Anderson, president of the Metchosin Producers Association. Their modified market begins each Sunday starting June 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 4450 Happy Valley Rd.
“It’s really out of our hands,” she said. “I love that the market is a social gathering and it’s tough to say we can only host certain vendors.”
Though Anderson has seen 30 vendors each Sunday in previous years, they will end up cutting their size by more than half to comply with BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) standard of gatherings of no more than 50 people.
According to the BCCDC, farmers’ markets are not currently considered a high-risk setting for the transmission of COVID-19, especially since they are usually held outdoors and there’s usually a limited number of people in one area at a time.
There also won’t be any local musicians at any farmers markets, in line with new restrictions.
“Overall, it’s a shop and don’t stop,” quipped Anthony Obersteller, president of Goldstream Farmers Market. “Once customers buy their items, they’ll have to head out shortly after. It’s very different from what we’re used to.”
Notably, the BCCDC has included specific instructions to have one entrance and one exit, restrict the tasting of any food samples and keep adequate space between each booth.
Organizers were supposed to have the Goldstream Farmers market prepared to go by Sunday, May 10 for Mother’s Day weekend, but they now say sometime in June looks more realistic.
Until then, Obersteller said they’re waiting on a response from Langford city council to support placement of barricades at the event to help enforce social distancing measures.