Farmers' market will be limited to outdoor venue

The Prince George Farmers' Market will be a strictly outdoor operation as part of the city's efforts to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the city confirmed it will not be allowing the PGFMA to use the city-owned building at Third Avenue and Quebec Street downtown for the time being.

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Instead, it said staff will work with the PGFMA, as well as the Wilson Square Community Market, to set out the groundwork for holding outdoor markets. Those markets usually open in May but are subject to any future orders recommendations from the provincial health officer, the city noted.

Farmers' markets have been designated an essential service in B.C. but the provincial health officer has restricted vendors to selling food only. Moreover, they must also abide by physical distancing measures.

Through the B.C. Association of Farmers' Markets, the provincial government is also encouraging farmers' markets to go online.

PGFMA president Martin Krell said the PGFMA is looking at establishing an online presence to represent all members who want to take that route.

"Many of our vendors currently have online stores and have reported to me great support for their services by the residents of Prince George," Krell said. "Some vendors are offering farm pick up and other vendors are offering home delivery as an option.

"The market customers have been very supportive to our market vendors by reaching out to them and supporting the vendors during this time of change."

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