A site plan explains social distancing measures for 2020. Contributed graphic

White Rock Farmers’ Market back with a difference May 3

Post COVID-19 version smaller, will include strict social distancing

The White Rock Farmers’ Market will return to the uptown neighbourhood on Sunday, May 3 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

But if that conjures visions of hundreds of people mingling with a profusion of vendors in the Russell Avenue/White Rock Community Centre area while they sip coffee and listen to live entertainment, market manager Helen Fathers is at pains to assure the public that the 2020 edition won’t be the market of old.

And while she acknowledged that she expects “some push-back” on opening the market this year, she is hopeful that people will realize that it is going to be a very different experience.

“Please don’t expect what it’s going to be like based on previous years,” Fathers – also a White Rock councillor – told Peace Arch News, adding that she and market staff are very sensitive to COVID-19 and social distancing concerns, following established guidelines for social gatherings and encouraging a “shop – don’t stop” policy.

“We’ll only have about a third of the vendors we usually have, and we’re anticipating we won’t have the same volume of customers,” she said.

READ ALSO: B.C. farmers markets restricted to food sales only due to COVID-19

“There won’t be any entertainment or other events and the vendors will only be selling food and beverage products,” she said. “It’ll essentially be an outdoor grocery market.”

And just like indoor grocery markets, full social distancing measures will be in place, she said, including cordoning off and dividing the site, limiting entry and exit points to two, and operating with correctly-distanced line-ups of customers supervised by safety-masked market staff.

Vendors will also be separated from one another, she added.

“To be a vendor you have had to go through the many hoops that Fraser Health has established for safety – and rightly so.

Fathers noted that farmers’ markets are officially deemed an essential service.

“A lot of people rely on us for safe and healthy food,” she said, adding that the market is also a venue honouring coupons issued through a joint provincial government/ BC Association of Farmers’ Markets nutritional program.

The coupons, distributed through the White Rock South Surrey Food Bank to pregnant women, seniors and single parents, amount to some $25,000 a year – “a quarter of our budget,” Fathers said.

“We didn’t feel that postponing or cancelling the market was a viable option for us.”

But Fathers said she and market staff will continue to assess the market (set to run until Oct. 25) on a week-by-week basis.

“We’re going to be tweaking things as we go through the season; assessing whatever we can do to improve on anything,” she said. “We think we’ll be able to manage it – there are quite a few farmers’ markets starting to go into operation, and we’re going to be visiting New Westminster this week to observe how they’re doing it there.”

Fathers noted that for those strictly isolating, the market website also includes a vendor directory that would facilitate other ways of buying produce from them.

“If people really don’t want to come to the market, they can also visit the website and contact the vendors directly,” she said.

For more information, visit whiterockfarmersmarket.ca



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusMarketplaceWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction underway for new Cloverdale elementary school

The $33 million school is to seat 655 students

George Garrett retires from Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society board

Society completes more than 58,000 trips since 2016

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read