Vernon council to ask province to allow non-food vendors back at farmers markets

Council backs market

Vernon city council will send a letter to provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix asking he reconsider a provincial health order barring non-food vendors from farmers markets.

Coun. Scott Anderson, who brought forward the motion, told his fellow councillors on Monday that the Vernon Farmers Market has been struggling, has been forced to scale back and is operating at a deficit.

“I can go to Walmart, I can go to a big box store, and buy a decorative cup made in China, but I can’t go to a farmers’ market and buy a Canadian-made decorative cup there,” he says.

Banning non-food vendors means there’s not as much money coming in, and not as many people attending.

The Vernon Farmers Market has followed all recommendations of a 30-page safety plan, and they are doing more than big box stores, Anderson said.

“The reason that it’s disallowed is that it’s disallowed, and that makes no sense,” said Anderson.

Coun. Kelly Fehr said with emerging COVID-19 variants and a possible third wave of the pandemic, now isn’t the time to start changing things.

“I think we need to proceed cautiously,” said Fehr.

The motion was narrowly carried.

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