B.C. has redefined what’s allowed at a farmers market under new health restrictions issued Dec. 2.
According to the updated health order, while farmers’ markets are deemed an essential service, they can now only sell food items.
|Kate Lindegaard livelihood depends largely depends on woollen garments she knits at sells. (Submitted)|
On Dec. 5, the Revelstoke Winter Market went from 20 to 10 vendors.
“It was significantly slower today, the arts and crafts vendors attract a lot of people,” said Isabel Kessi, the market’s manager.
Kate Lindegaard sells handmade toques, neck warmers and shawls at the market. As a low-income senior, it’s one of her main sources of income.
“For her, a few sales is a big deal,” said Tina Lindegaard, Kate’s daughter.
“It’s tough times.”
While the new restrictions are a bummer, many of the vendors said the updated rules are understandable for safety.
“We just gotta roll with the punches,” said Chelsea Hesse, a gemstone jeweller.
Potter Myra Morrison said COVID-19 makes selling her items difficult, as people like to touch pots and cups before they buy them.
“It’s going to be a bit of a juggle to get to customers now,” she said. Morrison said she might put pottery outside her home to let customers browse on her porch.
Prior to the new restrictions, farmers’ markets were not bound by the same rules that govern events and public gatherings and were allowed up to 50 people as long as each of those markets had at least half of the vendors selling food. Now they must only sell food to receive the exempt status.
While the new restrictions take aim at trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 through gatherings, Kessi said the new orders are confusing and perplexing. For example, retail and grocery stores are still open.
“We’re like a pop-up supermarket,” she said.
“This change is heartbreaking.”
Kessi said the changes might eventually make the winter market financially unsustainable.
In response to COVID-19 forcing artists to change selling tactics, some vendors have pivoted. Hesse started selling her jewellery in virtual markets, such as with the Online Canadian Craft Fair. The group organizes online craft fairs on Facebook each weekend with vendors from across Canada.
“It can be quite lucrative,” said Hesse.
Regardless, Hesse said she hopes to eventually return to in-person sales – whenever that might be.
“Hopefully it’s not like this next year.”
The next winter market is scheduled Dec. 19.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: