The open-air markets have been working pretty well, say the administrators of the farmers' markets in Charlottetown and Summerside, but with the fall coming it's time to get inside.
The markets had to shut down for a while when the pandemic hit, then moved to online ordering before stalls began to be set up outside.
"It's better to be inside. We're very fortunate we've never had a rainy Saturday since we opened," Don MacDonald of the Summerside Farmers' Market told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.
The Summerside market has had its plan to move back inside approved, and will reopen the doors Saturday. It will look different, with Plexiglas barriers on the stalls and a limit of 50 shoppers inside.
Upgrades in Charlottetown
The Charlottetown Farmers' Market has undergone more extensive renovations.
We're asking for people to walk through fairly quickly. — Bernie Plourde
It has also installed Plexiglas, but also took the opportunity while shut down to upgrade ventilation, plumbing and electrical.
Charlottetown expects to open up inside before the end of October, and manager Bernie Plourde said it will be a different kind of experience. Limited numbers inside will likely mean people will have to wait to enter, but Plourde hopes those waits can be kept to 10 minutes.
"It won't look like it usually does, where people can sit down or stand in the hallways and chat and commiserate with friends," he said.
"It will be more come on in, support your local farmers, get your groceries and allow the next bunch to enter. So we're asking for people to walk through fairly quickly."
Both markets have dining areas, and both are tweaking how to keep those open to some degree while still keeping shoppers moving around the stalls.
Limited tourism has hit the revenue at the markets, but both Plourde and MacDonald said local turnout has been strong.
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