If you are looking to have a grocery shopping experience that doesn't feel apocalyptic and leave you scratching your head wondering just what your neighbours plan to do with all that toilet paper, you can still support your local farmers and food crafters the weekend of March 14 and 15.
However, according to the VFM, there will be some alterations to protocol in order to maintain safety. Those changes are as follows:
- No food sampling
- Hand washing/sanitizing stations will be in place for shopper use throughout the markets
- VFM staff and vendors are asked to stay home if they are sick
- Reminder notices have been issued to all vendors in regards to proper food handling practices
"Maintaining public health and safety is our upmost priority, and as such, we will continue to monitor the situation with VCH and comply with their recommendations in regards to the ongoing operations of our markets," notes the VFM.
On Friday, B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, noted in her daily briefing to the media that, unless you are sick or require remaining in self-isolation due to recent travel or potential exposure to COVID-19, it remains safe to move about in public, in particular outdoors.
Customers, however, are reminded to use best practices when shopping, including at the VFM. That means keeping a safe distance from other shoppers, spending only as much time as you need on the market grounds, not shopping while sick, washing your hands frequently, laundering your reusable bags, sneezing or coughing into the crease of your elbow or a tissue, and avoiding touching your face.
"At this time, we would like to remind our valued customers that Vancouver Farmers Markets are a crucial source of income for over 280 B.C. farms and producers, and remain one of the best places in the city to access fresh, healthy food," notes the VFM.
"We ask that you treat the markets like any other retail food establishment (i.e. grocery store) and advise you to spend no more time than is necessary to purchase your safe, healthy, and nutritious foods."
The VFM will post updates to their website and social media channels should anything change.
The Riley Park Winter Market runs Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at East 30th Avenue and Ontario Street. The Hastings Park Winter Market runs Sundays from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at Hastings Park – centre grounds.