PRESS RELEASE RE: Keep Farmers Markets Open – 8.4.2020
Recently the Courier Mail has displayed photographs of our Northey St Organic Farmers Market with the words “crowds at Northey Street City Farm Organic Market at Windsor”. We believe their photographs and wording, in the context of other markets being overcrowded and having no social distancing regulations, misrepresents us and the safe measures we have put in place to comply with government regulations in response to COVID 19. No one who attended our markets over the past few Sundays would have described them as crowded. They were quiet and safely regulated.
Our response to COVID 19 was swift and professional. We have been identified as being farmers’ market leaders in responding to the COVID 19 threat with our safety measures and have received outstanding feedback and support from our community about how safe they feel to shop at our markets.
In this time of pandemic, we want the media to support organisations like us who deeply care about people’s health and that of the planet. Well managed, socially regulated farmers’ markets that comply with government regulations are the safest places to buy your fresh produce when they are well spaced, in the open air and sunshine and not in confined spaces like supermarkets. This is why the Chief Medical Health Officer is supporting essential food markets to stay open.
Farmers Markets also continue to support the economy by supporting small business, local farmers and local jobs. In a time of pandemic we need the media to support what is good for the economy and people’s health and we wholeheartedly believe our markets do both.
Please find below examples of our safety measures and community responses to the recent Courier Mail articles.
For further comment:
Enterprise and Events Manager, Northey Street City Farm
Our COVID 19 safety measures include:
- Providing our staff and community with COVID 19 information and what we have implemented to keep staff, stall holders and customers safe
- Implementing good sanitation practices, including hand sanitation on entry and exit of our markets.
- The employment of more staff to monitor numbers and social distancing
- Compliance for all staff to wear appropriate masks, disposable gloves and to abide by safe sanitation practices, with appropriate products and training
- Fencing our market perimeter to count patrons and cap our number at 350
- Mark social distance queues on entry to the market and at major stalls
- The reduction of stalls to allow for adequate queuing, with all stalls being produce or food stalls, bar one stall who sells organic soaps and hygiene products
- The request for stall holders to monitor the number of patrons within their stalls and comply with government regulations and to transition to eftpos sales
- Encouraging customers to look at food rather than touch it, and buy the food they touch
- For all our food stalls to be takeaway to comply with government regulations
- The removal of all seating to discourage socializing
- To have staff monitor social distancing within the market and to ask those not complying to leave
- Recommendation for only one person per household to do shopping
- Signage and social media to communicate our new safety procedures
- Weekly staff meetings to gather feedback and make improvements for the health and safety of staff, stall holders and customers on an on-going basis
- The implementation of an Epidemic/Pandemic Response Policies and Procedures
Messages of Support in response to the Courier Mail’s Facebook Post found here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157708407517702&id=90004797701
Dace: The hugest shout out to Northey St Organic Farmers Market, its organisers, stall holders and patrons. I have never seen anything so far better organised and run since social distancing has come into effect.
- number of people are limited (counted as they enter and exit the market area)
- every stall limits how many people can enter at one given time
- hand wash basins have been installed
- stall holders don’t have to touch your bags
- some stalls even have protective plastic so the staff are protected. Something to teach big supermarket people how to look after the wellbeing of your staff!!!!
- customers are courteous and observe the distance
Who knew that hippies can be so organised!!!! If anyone needs lessons on how to run essential services with social distancing and proper hygiene, contact Northey Street!!!
Joanne: Ms Palaszczuk, There are many farmers markets that have been taking all of these new protective measures VERY seriously! I can attest for Northey St Organic Farmers Market who have been fantastic with putting in place measures to ensure people are socially distancing and hygiene stations are available at many points. These markets are essential for myself and my family. I actually feel safer going to those markets than a large supermarket like, Woolworths or Coles, and I’m a 6 month pregnant woman. If I thought I was putting myself or my unborn child in danger I would not go. If other markets continue to disregard distancing regulations in coming weeks, then by all means, please close operations on those specific markets but NOT the ones that are and have been doing the right thing. Thank you.
Michael: Like others below, I buy all my family’s fresh, chemical free organic food from Northey St markets every Sunday and they are leading the way in restricting numbers, spacing out stalls, handwash/ sanitiser on entry, social distancing markers and signage. See the picture above? The girl holding the yellow chain is restricting entry into this stall and the people are waiting on 1.5 metre marks on the ground in a queue to get in. Big difference to when I visited woollies this afternoon with no visible sanitiser or restriction of entry procedures and people everywhere inside a sealed store, not an open air market. Next time do your research Courier Mail instead of running a photo taken from an intentionally deceptive perspective.
Nicole: The Northey Street Organic Markets restricted numbers entering, plus each stall holder restricted numbers in their area, plus multiple hand washing stations, Eftpos facilities made this much more hygienic than a supermarket. Please keep the markets open to support our local farmers.
Jessica: Northey St Organic Farmers Market have implemented so many protective measures since advised by the government. I feel much safer shopping there than the two big supermarket chains. It would be completely unfair to put down a blanket ban when it is only a certain few that are not implementing physical distancing and hygiene measures.
Bronte: Northey St Organic Farmers Market did an excellent job this morning. They fenced off the perimeter and had staff monitoring the numbers that went in and out. Each stall had a line outside with safe distances marked on the ground. Stalls were capped at the correct number of people per square meter. There were several hand sanitizer stations. Stalls were offering eftpos as an alternative to handling cash. Seats and benches were removed to discourage loitering and social gathering. People were wearing gloves and masks. Everyone did a fantastic job. Please don’t close the farmers markets – we don’t want to be forced to only have Cole’s or woolies as produce options. We want to support buying direct from farmers, growers, and local business. We don’t see where our money goes and who gets the right portions if we buy from a chain supermarket. At farmers markets, you meet the growers, farmers, and local businesses in person. For us personally, it has been a family initiative and tradition for decades. Supporting our farmers and local growers should be supported and advocated by the government.