Last week, it briefly looked as if the Duncan Farmers Market was going to have to be cancelled until further notice due to COVID-19.
Fortunately, sanity prevailed and the market went ahead on Saturday, though not as normal. Most things aren’t going on as normal these days. The market had only 20 vendors and they were spaced well apart to comply with the physical distancing recommendations that our health authorities tell us are vital to easing the effects of the pandemic. Vendors were restricted to food sellers.
Nevertheless, not everyone was thrilled that the market was allowed to go ahead when we posted about it on our Facebook page. We were surprised by the number of posters who thought that somehow this was different than going to the grocery store, and that the market was creating a risk to the public. We believe the bigger risk would have been to eliminate this availability of food in the community. Eating isn’t discretionary, and just because someone purchases their food from local vendors at the market doesn’t mean they don’t have as much right to have it continue to be available as someone who purchases their food from a large grocery store chain.
Further, keeping our small farmers working and in business during this crisis is one of the best things we can do for our economy, much like we can help restaurants stay afloat by ordering take-out, if we can afford to do so. We rely on individuals to take physical distancing seriously and keep the public safe in situations where people aren’t in their own homes. This includes both trips to the farmers market and to the grocery store. When people get home, everyone should be wiping down the things they purchase anyway, no matter where they are from. The idea that the Farmers Market is any more dangerous than the grocery store or pharmacy remaining open is sheer hysteria that doesn’t help anyone.
The bottom line is that we are all counting on our fellow citizens to play by the new rules to help keep everyone safe.