The Vernon Farmers’ Market (VFM) will open for its spring season Monday, April 27, but things won’t be the same as last year.
Several alterations have been put in place to ensure shoppers and retailers are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the protocol added, one entry and on exit point will be established, shoppers must maintain the appropriate social distancing (two metres) and no more than 50 shoppers will be allowed in each zone at any given time.
The Farmers’ Market’s promotional poster encourages shoppers to avoid lingering and instead “limit your time in the market.”
“Shop with a purpose,” the VFM website reads. “Know what you’re coming in for. As much as we generally love building community and we want you to stay and hang out, under the current circumstances, we ask you don’t linger.”
All food sampling has been suspended and on-site dining spaces will be eliminated.
High-touch spots, including the ATM and washrooms, will be cleaned frequently and new wash stations will be made available.
Avoid handling products you do not intend to buy, wash your produce thoroughly and regularly wash your reusable tote bags, VFM said.
The “Modified Market” will take place Mondays and Thursdays between 8-1 p.m.
Farmers’ markets were deemed an essential service by the B.C. government, equivalent to grocery stores.
Individuals who feel ill are asked not to visit the Vernon Farmers’ Market.
“We live in an older community and have high-risk individuals, we have some older farmers and vendors, we need to keep everyone safe,” the VFM website reads.
There are several reasons why visiting the Farmers’ Markets, even with all the modifications in place, is still a great opportunity.
VFM said produce travelling from farm to market involved a lot less handling and exposure to the sun and smiles is great for Vitamin D exposure and mental health.
“We believe that, like grocery stores, farmers’ markets are vital to our community’s food security and health,” VFM said. “We are committed to supporting small-scale farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.”