Penticton Farmers' Market

Under normal circumstances, this is what the Penticton Farmers Market looks like on a busy Saturday morning.

It’s unfortunate that the Penticton Farmers Market and DPA community market are not being run in their traditional format.

Kudos to organizers for being inventive by using online ordering and pick up, but, to be honest, it’s just not the same thing.

Much of the purchases we make at the market are on impulse.

It’s puzzling why Kelowna and Vernon can both offer safe, social-distanced markets, but not here in Penticton, a city renowned for having the best markets in the B.C. Interior.

Using Walmart as an example, most people obey the single-file lanes and they stand on the Xs when cashing out. Everyone politely keeps their distance. Walmart is an indoor store.

There is scientific evidence to suggest you have a lesser chance of contracting COVID-19 outdoors. Food is a necessity. At one point it was supposed to be the only reason we were allowed to leave our houses.

There are common-sense rules. For example, the markets could easily be limited to food only. Produce may not be touched and should be washed when you get home.

Main Street is long. Is there any reason why they can’t run the stalls from the 100 block all the way down to near where Pen-Hi is, about 15 feet apart and chalked with Xs on the pavement indicating where people can line up? The stalls could be on one side of the street only and patrons could visit them using a single-file system.

Sure, it will be inconvenient having to walk back, but heck, we can all use some exercise.

Perhaps the fear is that people will congregate and talk with one another. Perhaps they can hire some retired librarians who can monitor the situation — “NO TALKING!”

We agree that Dr. Bonnie Henry is doing a great job overall, but there are inconsistencies. Golfers can be trusted to maintain a distance and so can market goers in Vernon and Kelowna — but not Penticton.

It’s unfortuante that the big guys like Walmart and Costco may remain open, but not our Okanagan-Similkameen farmers.

People, please rethink this one. It can be done.

—James Miller is managing editor of The Penticton Herald