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Coronavirus: Regina Farmers Market hopes to reopen ahead of phased plan

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Coronavirus: Regina Farmers Market hopes to reopen ahead of phased plan
WATCH: Normally, the Regina Farmers Market would have been running downtown on Wednesday, but that’s not possible during the pandemic. Open-air markets are included down the road in the Reopen Saskatchewan plan, but there is a push for that to move up. Elise Darwish has the story. – May 6, 2020

With in-person markets forced to close in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Regina Farmers Market (RFM) had to come up with a different plan so vendors could stay afloat.

RFM launched an online shop at the start of April so vendors could still sell, and customers could shop local.

“Our staff really hustled and put in a lot of hours and we are really pleased with what we’ve come up with,” explained Holly Laird, executive director of the Regina Farmers Market.

READ MORE: What you need to know as Saskatchewan starts first phase of reopen plan

Online ordering is open from Monday to Thursday, with pickup or delivery on Saturdays.

Even with the online option, Laird hopes that the RFM can reopen to the public before phase four of the provinces reopen Saskatchewan plan.

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“For the last 45 years, what the farmers market has done is connect those local farmers and producers with the community, and we just have to keep doing that,” said Laird, who hopes the province deems farmer’s markets essential services.

“It’s really important that we keep those dollars local and we put them in the pockets of the farmers that are in Saskatchewan that need our support now more than ever.”

Laird says if the market is given the green light to open earlier, safety protocols will be put in place.

“Things like limiting the amount of customers that could come in at a time, we could do some visual cues, things on the pavement saying stay six feet apart. We could put the vendor booths further apart as well.”

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New businesses like the Duck Mountain Coffee Roasting Company, meanwhile, rely heavily on the market as a source of profit, and as a key way to connect with the community.

READ MORE: Regina small businesses offer ways to support local during the COVID-19 pandemic

“We started the market back at the beginning of the year and we were pretty pumped, and then all this happened and it kinda just stopped. So for us its definitely going to be about exposure,” explained Deanna Ratcliffe, owner of Duck Mountain Coffee Roasting Company.

Meanwhile, the province released a statement, saying further potential guidelines for farmers markets are currently being reviewed.

 

 

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