Windsor

How the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market will operate amid tightened stay-at-home order

The Downtown Windsor Farmers Market is taking on a different look this year, as it prepares to open this weekend, says Brian Yeomans of the Downtown Windsor BIA.

The market returns this Saturday, with pandemic safety practices in place

The Downtown Windsor Farmers Market will be different than it looked in 2019, as shown in this photo. For 2021, safety measures will be in place to ensure safety and that public health guidelines are met. (Bob Becken/CBC)

The Downtown Windsor Farmers Market is taking on a different look this year, as it prepares to open this weekend. according to Brian Yeomans, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA).

Only 100 people will be allowed in at a time, with about 30 vendors featured, though that number is expected to fluctuate as restrictions change throughout the year.

"This is essentially an outdoor supermarket, same as any of those supermarkets that people are going into an enclosed space," said Yeomans. "This is exactly the same, but it's in open air. 

"We are keeping the numbers low to ensure that people feel safe," he said, adding that attendees are expected to wear masks and practise physical distancing.

"As much as I love to say it's a great social gathering, this is not right now the time to socially gather. This is a time to get your essential goods and move along so that the next people can get in and grab those things."

DWBIA chair Brian Yeomans says the market will be limited to vendors only selling essential goods, such as food, health and beauty products, and pet-care items. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The market will be limited to vendors selling on essential goods, such as food, health and beauty products, and pet-care items.

Leslie Balsillie, co-owner of The Fruit Wagon, said she feels more comfortable participating this year, and was pleased with how controlled and well managed the market was last year.

"We knew a lot less at that time," she said. "We went last year a little nervous [on] the first day, and then we said it feels OK and everyone was practising safe practices. So we feel OK this year."

Balsillie added: "We have all our materials on hand, we have hand sanitizer, we know the way to keep our display clean. We know how to set it up to get the spacing properly."

She said she'll miss the vendors who aren't able to be vendors right now.

"I feel really badly for the people that are not able to participate, but I think that they will be welcomed with open arms."

Leslie Balsillie, co-owner of The Fruit Wagon, says she feels more comfortable participating in the market this year, and was pleased with how controlled and well managed it was last year. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Yeomans said he's confident in the safety measures put in place to ensure they meet public health guidelines, adding that there will be volunteers in assisting the flow of traffic.

He reiterated the importance of the market, encouraging Windsorites to support local businesses.

"It's important to note that the business that we are helping and the businesses that are working with the farmers market are all essential services," he said. "We did a fantastic job at keeping people safe last year, and we learned a lot from that.

"If you can get out to the market and support these farmers and these businesses, please do. We're excited for the day that everything is a little bit more open and we can all get back to enjoying a normal life again."

The market opens Saturday at 8 a.m. ET, operating at Pelissier Street and Maiden Lane.

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