The Cedar Avenue farmers market is going full-on with face coverings.
Volunteers for the downtown Trail outdoor venue announced this week that all shoppers are required to mask-up for the remainder of the season.
In spite of their best efforts to ensure pandemic precautions are followed by all, volunteer organizer Gina Ironmonger says the city did receive a complaint that social distancing was not being observed at the Aug. 8 market.
“We have reviewed and made the difficult decision to make face masks a mandatory requirement for entrance to the market,” Ironmonger told the Times.
“It is recognized that a face mask alone is not considered as a sole method of reducing exposure to Covid-19, it is considered by health authorities practical when social distancing can not be observed,” she said.
“Hand sanitizers and social distancing will still be implemented at the market and masks are meant to be additional support when social distancing doesn’t occur. In addition, we encourage people to shop and not stop to socialize.”
She says if the city receives more complaints that the volunteer-run market is not taking steps to mitigate exposure to the virus, permission to use the 1300 block of Cedar Avenue, which is municipal property, may be rescinded.
“These are challenging times for everyone, and we are trying our best to remain open,” Ironmonger said.
“We consider the safety of our shoppers, vendors, volunteers and their friends, family, and those they come into contact with, of the utmost importance,” she added.
“The market operates on a strictly volunteer basis and asks for the cooperation of all those that attend the market.”
Cloth masks are for sale at the Saturday events, and Shoppers Drug Mart has kindly donated a box of disposable masks to be dispensed for free while supplies last.
Looking ahead, Ironmonger says for those who forget or are caught off-guard by the requirement, volunteer organizers will have disposable masks available at the entrance to the market for a minimum donation of $1 to recover costs.
It’s important to keep Trail’s incredible Farmers Market running as it is the only farmers market in the Lower Columbia.
The market is an essential service that is key to food security. It supports local agricultural producers and, through the Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program, the market supports locals who are food insecure.
The program provides coupons for lower income families, seniors and expectant mothers to purchase fresh produce, meats, poultry and eggs direct from the farmer.
The Trail United Church Food Bank and the Rossland Food Bank are the market’s vital community partners.