Regina Farmers’ Market organizers are hoping their carefully developed COVID-19 safety policies will be respected as one of their first outdoor markets of the season is set to coincide with an anti-public health order (PHO) rally.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the SHA and the province to make sure we’re meeting the guidelines and even exceeding the guidelines,” said executive director Holly Laird.
Social media posts promoting the anti-PHO event say its set to begin at 1 p.m. in Victoria Park. The posts note speakers such as Maxime Bernier and Chris “Sky” Saccocia.
Safety protocols in place include one-way traffic, physical distancing, sanitization stations and mandatory masks.
Laird says she’s been receiving messages about the rally all week, and says she is concerned that the rally may jeopardize the safe space her organization has created, but extended an olive branch to any protestors who may wander across the field.
“We do have some similar goals in that they are very concerned about small business and we represent over 100 small businesses and farmers that operate here in Saskatchewan,” she said.
“I would hope that they respect our space and our policies and that they understand that we are doing everything we can to provide a space for these people and a safe place for our customers to come.”
Behavioural scientist Gordon Pennycook thinks Laird may be onto something with that line of logic as long as the protestors don’t single out the market as a group.
“The protest space is sort of like a safe space to engage in that behaviour,” said Pennycook, though he added that in general such protesters are unlikely to obey any rules not endorsed by their own ranks.
“The underlying issue is that they view the government, and medical community and scientists as not legitimate authority.”