The Boyce Farmers Market reopened Sunday morning, giving New Brunswickers access to their local favourites. But the normally bustling market was nearly empty at the best of times.
“This is the first day and it’s very, very sparse. Normally its jam-packed, shoulder-to-shoulder,” said customer Madelyn Beatty.
The market is now in phase one of its reopening. Phase one is open to vendors that sell produce and groceries. Phase two will allow takeaway food and in phase three artists selling crafts will return.
For now, guests are required to follow marked arrows and are asked to wear masks when inside.
“Some of the aisles are quite narrow and we can’t guarantee the six-feet distance,” said Leslie Morrell, manager of the Boyce Farmers Market.
Although the opening was only pushed forward one day, many vendors were not available Sunday morning. The disappointing delay comes after vendors waited for months for an opportunity to sell their products.
“The market is their sole source of income so a lot of them are hurting, and it’s nice to see them back,” said Morrell.
Vendor Eco Fab Mama is back and has pivoted from selling reusable bags to face masks.
“Definitely it was a loss of income for quite a while. My mask sales have thankfully kept me afloat,” said Eco Fab Mama owner Veronica Perrin.
The silver lining is that the delayed, sparse opening allowed the City of Fredericton to improve on the market’s traffic flow and COVID-19 regulations.
“In two to three weeks we hope to open in phase two, so we are currently working on our operational plan for that and approvals,” said Stacey Russell, Fredericton Tourism and Events manager.
But for now, Frederectionians are just eager to get back to their weekend routines and say the market reopening brings them one step closer.
“It will be interesting to see how they can keep this going and running smoothly for everyone, maybe some changes will be good, because it was hard to move around,” said Beatty.