One of the most popular farmers markets in the Okanagan Valley is preparing to reopen its outdoor market after a delayed start due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the province designating farmers markets as essential food and agricultural service providers, organizers in Penticton decided to shift services online out of an abundance of caution.
But in a Facebook post, the Penticton Farmers’ Market says planning is underway to reopen its outdoor market in the 100 block of Main Street “in a healthy and safe way that will allow for social distancing.”
And in a press release issued on Wednesday, May 27, market manager Katherine Harris said it will reopen on Saturday, May 30th, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Customers will be expected to follow similar rules to what is currently in place at other grocery stores,” said Harris.
The press release said signage and markers throughout the market will reinforce physical distancing and remind customers to regularly wash or sanitize their hands, refrain from gathering, and wash their produce when they return home.
It added that no consumption of food or drink will be permitted within the market, and that customers will be permitted to use their reusable bags but must bag their own items.
The Penticton Farmers’ Market is also asking that no personal items be set down on surfaces within the market.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help out on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. in four-hour shifts. The post says non-medical masks will be provided.
Meanwhile, Kelowna’s main outdoor market has been in operation every Wednesday and Saturday since May 2. Market goers can purchase fresh fruits and veggies from 8:00 a.m.to 1 p.m. across from Orchard Park Shopping Centre on the corner of Springfield Road and Dilworth Drive.
Patrons at the Kelowna outdoor market are asked to limit to one family member per household, limit loitering, maintain physical distancing, and avoid touching products you don’t intend to buy.
The Vernon Farmers’ Market is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot at Kal Tire Place. It also asks marketgoers to respect health and safety protocols.
On March 26, B.C.’s Ministry of Health designated farmers markets as essential food and agriculture service providers.
The BC Centre for Disease Control says farmers markets are exempt from the mass gathering order, however, they must comply with physical distancing requirements.
Markets can only sell food items such as fresh, frozen and prepared foods, take-away from food carts and food trucks and pre-packaged liquor.
Non-food products and other merchandise cannot be sold.
Many markets across B.C. are also moving online, so that customers can put in their orders and go to pick them up without having to worry about physical distancing rules.
You can find a market near you and see which markets are online on the B.C. Farmers’ Market Trail website.