COVID-19: Lethbridge Farmers’ Market returns with some changes

Lethbridge Farmers Market returns with big changes
The 50th annual Lethbridge Farmers Market is kicking off on Saturday at Exhibition Park. As Emily Olsen reports, organizers say they’ve made many changes to keep both vendors and shoppers safe.

At Exhibition Park in Lethbridge, the annual farmers’ market will return for its 50th year this Saturday, but organizers say things will look a little different.

“The best way I can explain it is it’ll be similar to what you’ve experienced in the grocery store,” Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Rudy Friesen said. 

READ MORE: 2020 Whoop-Up Days officially cancelled, farmers market still being explored

This year’s market includes vendors that are spaced further apart as well as a number of features to help guide eager shoppers through as easily as possible. 

“There’s directional signage on the floors,” Friesen explained. “There’s reminders about distancing, to keep that two metres apart.”

Organizers ask shoppers to keep several things in mind to prepare for their visit this weekend:

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  • Only one adult will be allowed per household, so consider shopping for loved ones and neighbors.
  • Be prepared to wait outside if it reaches max capacity.
  • Keep browsing and socializing to a minimum. 
  • Have cash ready because there will be no ATMs on site.
  • Shoppers will not be allowed to handle the products.
  • Everyone must sanitize their hands before entering.

“There’s no sampling at the market,” Friesen said. “We’re not allowed to sample. So that will be a missed opportunity. And you won’t be able to handle the product.”

Friesen says they’re looking forward to supporting local producers. 

He adds that the 46 vendors expected for Saturday are on par with the number they normally see on an opening weekend, but there have been several vendors saying wont be participating due to COVID-19.

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“There’s people that are cautious,” Freisen said. 

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“Maybe they’re immune-compromised and they’re just not ready to come back to the market so they’re holding back. Others have taken time to decide, they need a little bit more notice, they can’t prepare immediately for a market.”

With the new procedures in place, Friesen feels confident this opening weekend will still be a hit — even if it’s a little late.

“I think people are ready to come out and check it out.”

READ MORE: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

You can find more information online. 

Organizers are hopeful the opening weekend will be successful in maintaining Alberta Health guidelines while people enjoy one of their favourite Lethbridge summer experiences.