Manitoba market under fire for having out of province vendor that didn't isolate

Third + Bird, an urban market featuring more than a hundred vendors, came under scrutiny after at least one out-of-province vendor set up shop at the weekend event without self-isolating.

In a statement to CTV News on Friday, Third + Bird said an "investigation resulted in the non-compliant business being removed from the market" and "four remaining out-of-town makers withdrew" from the event.

"Third + Bird and partners are committed to the health and safety of not only the registered retail & food service businesses that take part but to our staff and attending guests," the statement said.

At Friday's provincial COVID-19 news conference, Dr. Jazz Atwal, the acting chief provincial public health officer, said these vendors were not exempt from isolating.

"These markets in general, just to kind of take a step back, are treated like retail. So they do have capacity limits and they are monitored by public health investigators," said Atwal.

He added health officials meet with the organizers regularly to ensure everyone is aware of the health orders in place.

Atwal also explained why Third + Bird can run while other events have been postponed or cancelled.

"It's not a broad brush stroke on all of these things, but they are reviewed individually to make sure they meet the order so they are able to occur."

He noted there is some confusion about the event and the province will work to provide more details in the future.

Atwal said Third + Bird is following orders and has capped its attendance at 30 per cent capacity, which he added is lower than what is recommended by the province.

"They had sold tickets as well to make sure that there was a limited number of people within the venue at any given time," said Atwal.

Third + Bird said the market will still happen on the weekend and all the businesses attending have followed the health orders.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Third + Bird issued an apology for what happened.

"Our heart was not in a place to hurt anyone. I want to say a heart-felt (sic) apology. My intention was in a good place. A place to champion small Canadian businesses. Some (of) you feel wronged and failed by me/Third + Bird and for that I'm deeply sorry," the post reads.

Despite the online criticism, Third + Bird shoppers say they're excited to attend the event and support the vendors.

"I think it's very important for our local economy to get these things going as soon as we can," shopper Dean Fiorentino said.

The spring market's attendance is limited to 30 per cent capacity and ticket holders only have a two-hour timeframe to get their shopping done.

Tamara Shagaba, who attended Third + Bird with her daughter, said organizers are taking appropriate measures to ensure guidelines are followed.

"They're taking great pride in blocking the times, rotating people through and making sure everyone's following the safety standards," Shagaba said.

A provincial spokesperson said public health officials will continue to work with Third + Bird organizers to ensure compliance and will attend the market to confirm public health orders are being followed.

Third + Bird is scheduled to hold a spring market from April 16 to 18 in Winnipeg.