North Bay Farmers Market crafters told they can't temporarily attend unless they sell curb-side only
Artisans and crafters at the North Bay Farmers Market are expressing frustration and disappointment with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit after they learned they are only allowed to attend the market if their sales are online pre-orders or for curbside pickup only. This is while food vendors can operate in full capacity.
The farmers' market board is hoping to resolve the issue with the health unit saying the artisans are struggling with only being allowed to curb-side only rules.
For farmer's market artisan and crafter, Cari Davis, curb-side pickup is just not cutting it.
"It has been a lot harder obviously because you're losing the ability for people to kind of stop in and say 'I'd think I'd like to have that item,'" said Davis.
Davis owns Mud Dog Creek and makes home fragrance, soy candles, and wax melts.
"We've worked really hard to put in place protocols to make sure that we can keep the public safe and keep ourselves safe," Davis explained.
The farmers' market board brought a case forward to the health unit to give it extra reassurance that these vendors are following the exact same health guidelines that been laid out that the other vendors are following.
"At this point, we have received no further information from them," said farmers' market vice-chair Donovan Daniel. "Ultimately it seems to be the case with non-essentials right now within our community and within the province. We certainly support our artisans and wish that they were here."
The crafters say the board was notified by the health unit that already closed retail shops complained that they were allowed to operate while they could not open their doors.
"We are permitted to be open. We're predominantly producers," said Davis. "It's actually in the Re-opening Ontario Act that we are allowed to be open. So we're really at a loss as to why that happened."
Aline Coote was shocked. Coote is a farmers' market artisan. She owns 'Wearable Treasures From The Shores of Lake Nipissing.' She finds artifacts from Lake Nipissing shorelines and creates jewelry out of them.
"How do I feel? I was surprised and I just don't understand," said Coote. "We are outside and see everyone is wearing masks."
About 1/3 of the farmers' market's vendors are artisans and crafters. Daniel expects the artisans and crafters will be able to return in full capacity when the provinces eases restrictions starting June 14 or earlier.
"We know we are seeing strong support from the community for those vendors," he concluded.
The farmers' market board in the meantime is working on special signage for artisan and crafter booths that have to be displayed in each booth.
The signs have to include enhanced protocols that each vendor will be responsible for reviewing with customers.