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Ottawa farmers’ markets will open for business this summer, Mayor Watson says

Ottawa residents will have a chance to buy fresh produce from the farmers' market in the ByWard this summer despite the ongoing pandemic.
Ottawa residents will have a chance to buy fresh produce from the farmers' market in the ByWard this summer despite the ongoing pandemic. Mark Spowart / Canadian Press

Ottawa’s farmers’ markets will be open rain or shine, pandemic or no this coming summer, Mayor Jim Watson said Monday.

Watson said during a call with media Monday afternoon that he has been speaking with farmers’ market operators across the city, including at Lansdowne Park, about how the summer staples might run amid physical distancing restrictions and other measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ottawa.

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“We very much want to see the market go ahead. These farmers have put a lot of time, effort and money into planting their fields in the fall and obviously this is their base income,” Watson said.

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Though the weather is warming, there’s no date yet on when markets might open to the public.

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Vendors likely won’t be packed stall-to-stall in venues across Ottawa, Watson said, noting that however markets open this summer, the city will have to impose guidelines such as staggered entrances and other physical distancing measures to protect customers and farmers alike.

The city will rely on advice from Ottawa Public Health on how to safely open up markets such as the one in Westboro, where a lack of open space creates challenges for customers keeping their distance.

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There have been preliminary discussions about implementing curbside pickup options, as some retailers have done, to limit the need for people to get out of their cars and enter the venue.

Markets that operate on private property, such as the one in Carp, will also be allowed to open should they follow similar guidelines, Watson said.