Pictured is the entrance to the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market on opening day in 2020. COVID-19 protocols, including hand sanitizing, mask wearing and physical distancing, remain in place for this year’s market season, which kicks off in May. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)

Pictured is the entrance to the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market on opening day in 2020. COVID-19 protocols, including hand sanitizing, mask wearing and physical distancing, remain in place for this year’s market season, which kicks off in May. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)

Artisans once again allowed to sell at BC Farmers Markets

Restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing non-food vendors to apply

Artisans and florists will once again be allowed to sell at B.C. Farmers Markets, as the B.C. government has lifted restrictions that were in place preventing artisans from attending.

Earlier this year, flower vendors across B.C. were circulating a petition to allow artisans (which includes flower growers) to sell at markets. Farmers Markets were deemed an essential service last year, but the government put restrictions in place that excluded artisans from in-person sales.

This created an issue for flower growers that would effectively end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of blooms going to waste. Not only that, but vendors such as soap makers and jewellers who make a living during the market season were frustrated as well.

We are SO excited to be able to have our talented artisans back as well as personal care items like soap/lotion and flowers when we open the market on May 1st! Apply now on our website 🎨🧼🌻

Posted by Cranbrook Farmer's Market on Saturday, March 20, 2021

“In March 2020, when COVID restrictions first hit B.C., non-food vendors such as flower farmers and artisans were removed from farmers markets. It was a stressful time for all but especially so for small, local business owners and flower farmers, some of whom who had thousands of dollars of spring flowers in the fields waiting for eager hands,” reads the petition on change.org.

“The first non-food market ban lasted from early April to mid June 2020, and it was incredibly stressful and time consuming having to pivot business models to e-commerce in only a matter of weeks. A second Provincial Health Order banning non-food vendors at farmers markets came again mid December 2020, a time when many small businesses rely on farmers market sales at Christmas time to support their families.”

On Friday, March 19, the government announced that all artisans would be allowed to sell at markets province-wide, effective immediately. This news comes as many markets prepare to open their proverbial doors in the coming weeks. While many markets in B.C. operate year-round, others begin their season in early spring between March and May.

Vendors are required to follow strict COVID-19 protocols. Market-goers are also asked to practice physical distancing, sanitize their hands upon entry and to wear a mask. As with last year’s markets, there will be a specific flow of traffic to help make physical distancing easier.

There may also be times when there is a line-up to get into the market, as the number of people allowed in at one time is often limited.

READ: BC Farmers Markets move to online platform amid COVID-19 concerns



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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