This is what Edmonton’s farmer's markets are doing to stay open during COVID-19
EDMONTON -- Edmonton’s downtown and Old Strathcona farmers’ markets will be open this weekend and abiding by provincial guidelines, organizers say.
Both are restricting customer access and asking Edmontonians to wait in line outside until their turn to shop.
“We realize that this is a stressful and scary time for many individuals, and that not everyone is comfortable with this decision,” a statement by the Edmonton Downtown Farmer’s Market reads.
“We will continue to follow the recommendations set out by the Alberta Government, City of Edmonton, and Alberta Health Services… If recommendations from authorities change, we will follow suit.”
The downtown market and the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market also told CTV News Edmonton they have staff monitoring their buildings to ensure capacity does not breach 50 people.
Deemed grocers, they are exempt from the 15-person gathering rule implmeented by Alberta on Friday.
EFFORTS TO KEEP VENDORS DURING PANDEMIC
Spokespeople said attendance at the markets is about half of normal levels.
“Vendors keep track of their own sales and so I don’t have exact numbers but I would guess we are down by 40 to 60 per cent,” Donna Lohstraeter, CEO of the Old Strathcona market, wrote in a a statement.
“Attendance has be steadily declining throughout the month of March.”
For a variety of reasons, vendors have been pulling out, citing health, travel and economic reasons.
Neither market is charging a booth cancellation penalty, and the Old Strathcona market even cut rental prices by 30 per cent.
Indeed, the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market thanked customers on Friday who had so far been able to continue to support its vendors.
PRIORITY LINES, NO SAMPLING
These are some of the other rules the markets are implementing during the pandemic:
- OSFM has started a priority line for seniors and physical disabilities.
- EDFM vendors pre-bag bulk items.
- Both markets are discouraging the use of cash and product touching.
- Sampling not allowed at either market.
A full list of precautions can be found at the market’s websites.
The Bountiful Farmers' Market is going ahead as well, operating with regular hours with a string of safety precautions in place.
Those precautions include:
- Delivery service and curb side pick-up being offered by emailing the market
- Vendors not offering samples
- An enhanced cleaning schedule
- Seating area closed down