Many events slated to take place across the province during the warmer months have been cancelled outright by organizers already as B.C. continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis. However, the popular - and often quite crowded - Richmond Night Market says they still could open for the summer 2020 season.
"While the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve on a daily basis, Richmond Night Market has made the responsible decision to postpone it’s opening for this year’s event to ensure the health and safety of its guests, staff and vendors," organizers said in a statement issued April 25.
The popular annual event, which typically runs from early May to mid-October, is a big draw, boasting around 200 vendor booths and 100 food booths. It is considered North America's largest night market.
Currently, B.C.'s public health orders mandate that crowds of over 50 people are not permitted to gather. Additionally, physical distancing measures would make navigating the market stalls and lines quite difficult.
While many people head to the market to eat, shop, and enjoy entertainment, doing so at leisure, while seated communally, is the kind of activity venues like daytime outdoor farmers' markets are not able to allow at their events. For example, when the Vancouver Farmers Markets' summer season launches on May 2, markets will be for essential shopping only, with customers urged to "shop, don't stop," while onsite. There are no non-food vendors permitted, and no seating for eating or socializing.
The Richmond Night Market acknowledges they are "facing a summer like no other."
The event has not set a targeted postponed opening date, but does say we can expect some kind of decision from the Night Market in a couple of months.
"At this time, we are looking at the end of June to decide on our next steps, but this will be fluid and change as the situation develops," say Market organizers.
"Creating an event that draws guests from all over the province takes a great deal of coordination, and we will continue to assess potential scenarios in accordance with government guidance."
Additionally, the Richmond Night Market points to the importance of the well-being of their staff and the community, as well as the tremendous work of "health care professionals, first responders and front line workers."
Lastly, the Richmond Night Market notes that while they are down for the time being, they are not out: "An uncertain summer for sure… but when we can go from social distancing back to just being social again, know the sun will continue to shine and Richmond Night Market will be here for you!"