The list also says stalls will have to be sufficiently spaced out to allow for proper physical distancing protocols, and customer traffic should be monitored or managed to keep patrons safe.
Food samples and reusable containers should be banned, the directives say, adding that hand sanitizing stations and washrooms will have to be readily available and properly maintained.
“Markets should not be viewed as a place to linger or socialize and should be viewed as a ‘shop and go’ market,” Catherine Clark, executive director of Farmers’ Markets Ontario, said in an email. “It won’t be business as usual.”
But the head of an industry group in Atlantic Canada said that may well prove to be a boon rather than a drawback.
Justin Cantafio, executive director of the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Co-Operative, said it has been exhilarating to see how quickly markets across the province have embraced online sales and other alternative sales methods.
He said challenges remain for markets in more remote communities that may not be able to tap into the same resources, but said the months ahead will hopefully see the industry as a whole become more innovative than it has been for years.
“We have a great new tool in the form of these online stores, but we’re also going to have a unified people seeking being together again after being isolated for so long,” Cantafio said.
“A farmers market is going to be that perfect blend of that cultural vibrancy and abundance mixed with the ability to get your food and necessities in one place. I think a farmers market will be one of the most important institutions moving forward if we play our cards right.”