British Columbia

Farmers' markets in B.C. get green light to sell non-food items again

British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer has decreed that the province's farmers' markets can once again sell non-food items like flowers, soap and jewelry. 

Soap, flowers, jewelry now allowed on vendor tables, according to the Ministry of Agriculture

Various measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 have been in place at B.C. farmers' markets since last spring. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

British Columbia's provincial health officer has decreed that the province's farmers' markets can once again sell non-food items like flowers, soap and jewelry. 

Lana Popham, B.C. minister of agriculture, food and fisheries, says Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the decision late on Friday.

"It's news that so many people were waiting for," Popham said. "The amount of public feedback we've gotten about this issue in particular has been quite strong." 

Farmers' markets are considered an essential service and have been allowed to continue operating throughout the pandemic. However, non-food vendors were excluded from in-person sales. The rule was lifted for a time last summer before being reinstated in December.

Laura Smit, executive director of Vancouver Farmers Market, previously told CBC News that although she was grateful the province had permitted markets to continue operating, it was never been made clear why non-food vendors weren't allowed.

Popham says the changes go into effect immediately. Some farmers' markets operate year-round. The summer season begins in May. 

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