in Chatsworth, Grey Highlands, Southgate, West Grey
May 26, 2021
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Recognizing that Farmers’ Markets are not only an important source of food, but also beneficial to the local economy, Health Units across the province have supported the operation of local markets during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current stay-at-home order. But Ontario's current stay-at-home order has meant a slower start for many markets.
"It's been a tricky situation to navigate, this time around," said Ron Barnett, manager of the Flesherton and District Farmers' Market. "We've done our due diligence when it comes to taking appropriate precautions, filing our plans for the safe operation of the market to both the Grey Bruce Health Unit and the Municipality of Grey Highlands."
But following approvals from both stakeholders this week, the market is planning to open the season this Saturday, May 29 at its usual location in the Flesherton Community Centre/Arena parking lot. Safety protocols will be in place for the opening. Unless exempted by a breathing-restrictive medical condition, all vendors will be wearing face masks or shields and social-distancing measures will be encouraged to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In Ontario, 7-day average COVID-19 case counts have been steadily decreasing since mid April. On May 12, the Ontario government announced that first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to over 50% of Ontarians aged 18 and over, with over one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered since the start of May. “By expanding eligibility, increasing immunization access through multiple channels and a steady vaccine supply coming into the province, we are advancing steadily toward our goal of administering first doses to over 65% of Ontario adults by the end of May,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
According to Barnett, the market will look a little fuller this year as many vendors have been added over the Spring. A variety of locally-produced meats, honey, homegrown vegetables as well as homemade baking and sweets will be on hand.
News of the market reopening was music-to-the-ears of practically everyone who is anxious to return to some semblance of normal life. Warmer weather and the reopening of farmers' markets may be one more sign of good things to come this summer. Recently, the Ontario government rolled out their Three-Step Roadmap to Safely Reopen the Province based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.
Organizers of the Southgate Community Farmers' Market have expressed similar hopes for a more normal summer. While it is still too early to nail down a specific date for opening, the market is predicted to be back up and running by late June.
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