COVID-19 hasn’t slowed North Bay’s farmers market
NORTH BAY -- It was one of the last outdoor farmers market’s that the city will see this year, but Saturday morning drew quite the crowd of people.
Safety protocols have been in place for the entire season, including hand sanitizing when people walk in, Plexiglas shields at several booths, signs to remind people to keep their distance and a mask requirement.
"We’ve been able to maintain a great distance, increased distance between our vendors and we’ve opened up the walking space in between," explained Donovan Daniel who is a director on North Bay Farmers Market Board.
"It’s actually made it a little more comfortable for customers to come in and enjoy the shopping experience and enjoy what our local vendors have to offer."
Two officers were also walking around the market in an effort to engage the public in a positive way and provide information on COVID-19 and regulations.
"The public reaction has been great," said Special Constable Chad Hollingshead.
"People are commenting on the positive police presence and people generally follow the COVID guidelines."
The North Bay Police Service does not have a tent or booth set up, instead they spend their time walking around and interacting with everyone, something Daniel says is welcomed.
"For several years now we’ve maintained a close relationship with the North Bay city police. Most recently they have been present a little bit more and we really like it. I think it brings a feeling of peace and calm to both the customers and vendors as well," said Daniel.
The farmers market had everything from mini donuts, to fresh produce to hand made crafts available for purchase.
Leah Kuperman and Jeremy Sedore were visiting from Toronto and didn’t hesitate to spend their Saturday morning supporting local.
"Especially in this time when it’s harder to organize these kind of things and make this kind of things happen, I think it’s important for us to participate in them whenever we can," said Kuperman.
"If everyone can do it safely, it’s absolutely the way to go. You’ve got to support the local farmers," added Sedore.
The farmers market did have a slower start to their season this year due to COVID-19. But Daniel says for the most part all of the regular producers have been present.
"We may have lost, you know, less than 5% and that is typical for most years. You will find that some vendors leave and some new ones join. But overall, I have to say that the vendor response to the market running this year has been excellent and I think most of our customers can find their favourite vendors as they did last year."
The farmers market will continue outside until Oct. 12 before it moves to the North Bay Mall for the winter months.