COVID-19 Update on the Winter Markets: March 19
March 19: We have been working closely with municipal and provincial officials this week and can confirm at this time that both Riley Park and Hastings Park Winter Markets have been approved to remain open as a fresh food access point this weekend (March 21 & 22).
As many businesses close around us during the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we have been carefully weighing our decision to continue operating our markets. We wholeheartedly support the preventative measures in place at the city, provincial, and federal levels to keep our communities safe and healthy. We also acknowledge that now, more than ever, people are in need of fresh and nutritious food.
At this time, VFM is committed to keeping our markets open as an essential access point for fresh food as long as public health officials deem it safe to do so. In a recent communication (dated March 16) to the BC Association of Farmers Markets in regards to COVID-19, the BC Centre for Disease Control stated:
“After consultation with the BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, we agree with you that farmer’s markets can continue at this time.
Farmers’ markets are not currently considered a high risk setting for the transmission of COVID-19. Farmer’s markets are usually held outdoors and there are usually a limited number of people in any one area at the same time.”
Our markets will look very different for the time being. In order to maintain proper social distancing and the safety of our shoppers, vendors, and staff, we will be implementing the following changes:
- Stall spaces will be reconfigured to ensure shoppers have plenty of space to select and purchase products.
- Smaller collections of vendors will be operating in clearly marked, cordoned off zones. The zones are constructed to ensure shoppers flow through the market as quickly as possible and do not backtrack. CLICK HERE to view the zoned map for Riley Park. Hastings Park map will remain the same at this time.
- Each zone will have a maximum capacity of 30 shoppers. Capacity of each market zone will be monitored by VFM staff members who will count every person entering and exiting their zone boundary.
- If a line forms at the entrance points, we will ask shoppers to stand at 6ft. intervals.
- Signage will be in place to direct shoppers to entrance and exit points.
We are in regular communication with public health officials, and will be implementing these additional health and safety recommendations:
- Markets will be food only. No food/coffee trucks or craft will be available.
- No cash or Market Money transactions for making purchases – debit/credit cards only.
- Increased number of hand washing/sanitizing stations will be in place throughout the markets.
- No product sampling of any kind.
We ask that all shoppers attending the markets comply with the social distancing protocols in place, and use designated entrances/exits only. This may result in longer wait times than usual to purchase food, so plan your visit in advance as vendors may not be in their regular spot. Use our Market Maps to help you plan:
CLICK HERE to view the Market Map for Riley Park
CLICK HERE to view the Market Map for Hastings Park
In order to maintain the health and safety of all VFM shoppers, vendors, and staff, please observe the following recommendations:
- Stay home if you are feeling sick.
- Use designated entrances/exits only (see attached map for details).
- Observe social distancing – maintain 6ft. of space from others at all times.
- Shop, don’t stop. Please limit your time in the market to essential food shopping only.
- No dogs in the market zone.
- Try to limit attendance to one household member.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crease of your elbow.
- Avoid handling produce and food items you do not intend to buy. Wash your produce thoroughly.
More information on the Covid-19 virus can be found on the VCH website at this link: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus
Please note that the status of our market operations can change at any time. We reserve the right to alter and/or close markets at any time if we feel that correct safety and social distancing protocols cannot be met. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation with our municipal partners and provide updates on our website (eatlocal.org) and through social media (FB, Instagram, Twitter).
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work to maintain Vancouver Farmers Markets as safe food access points for our community during the COVID-19 crisis.