COVID-19 Update on the Winter Markets: March 26
March 26: We were heartened to learn today that the BC Ministry of Public Safety has designated farmers markets an essential service during the COVID-19 crisis. We can also confirm at this time that our municipal partners have approved both Riley Park and Hastings Park Winter Markets to remain open again this weekend (March 28 & 29).
Now, more than ever, people are in need of fresh and nutritious food, and our local food system and farmers are in need of support. For this reason, Vancouver Farmers Markets is committed to keeping our markets open as an essential food service while it is deemed safe to do so by public officials.
Please be assured that our markets are not functioning as social gatherings at this time, but as access points for fresh food and pantry items. Maintaining the safety of our shoppers, vendors, and staff is our utmost priority and as such, the following safety measures will be instituted at the markets until further notice:
- Social distancing will be in effect – 6ft of space to be maintained between market attendees at all times.
- 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. Check the Riley Park page after 4pm on Friday for up-to-date information on zones and vendors.
- Each zone will have a maximum capacity of 20-30 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.
- 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 also encourage you to protect yourselves, your fellow shoppers, and VFM staff and vendors by observing the following VCH recommendations:
- Stay home if you are feeling sick.
- Limit market attendance to one person per household in order to cut back wait times for all shoppers.
- Observe social distancing – maintain 6ft. of space from others.
- No dogs at the markets.
- Shop, don’t stop. Limit your time in the market to essential food shopping only.
- 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.
- Regularly wash your reusable produce and tote bags.
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
Many of you have asked about curbside or delivery options. We hope to introduce an online market store next week to give vendors a platform to offer pick up and delivery. If you are interested in these options, check back with our website and newsletter for more information as we have it.
Please note: the status of our market operations can change at any time. 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).
From all of us at Vancouver Farmers Markets, we hope that you remain safe and healthy and we thank you for your continued support and understanding during this time.