Coronavirus: Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market shuts down non-essential vendors

Since 1951, the beloved Feredicton Boyce Farmers Market, with 200 food and craft vendors, has been the place to which people flock in order to socialize and shop.

“This was a bustling downtown market. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have 10,000 people through here through the course of a Saturday,” said Butch Dalton, owner of Dalton’s Orange Juice.

On a sunny cold Saturday morning locals line up outside the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market. Megan Yamoah

Under the new regulations, the market permits just 80 people at a time and Public Health has shut down all non-essential vendors that do not sell food or groceries.

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A sign inside The Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market explains why the middle isle is lacking vendors. Megan Yamoah / Global News

“A lot of crafters here make their living out of this market, and there’s a big push to support local,” said Dalton.

“I don’t see how this, with no crafters, is supporting local.”

Crafter Veronica Perrin switched from selling eco-friendly products to reusable masks just so she could be deemed essential.

Perrin says the masks take much longer to make than her previous products of reusable sandwich and produce bags and wool dryer balls, but she says the masks are keeping her company running.

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“I don’t even know how to describe it, really, it’s just tough,” said Perrin.

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The new rules also state customers are not allowed to eat or drink any items purchased from indoor or outdoor vendors, a rule that is impacting the bottom line for vendors like Dalton’s Orange Juice.

A young customer selecting a smoothie from a fresh juice vendor at the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market. Megan Yamoah / Global News

“My business is down approximately 50 per cent in sales. We do a lot more negotiating for the price of oranges with our wholesalers now because we’re working on such a thin margin,” said Dalton.

On Facebook, The Market Basket page has been set up for crafters to sell their merchandise until they are permitted to return to their stalls.

“We’re not giving up, we won’t give up,” Maryann Jaragan, an employee at the Cheese Market.

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Management at Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market said clear barriers will be installed next week between stalls.

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“We are hopeful that once this gets behind us that the crowds will come back, the businesses will come back and start to recover and hopefully come out of this on the back end stronger than we were before,”  said Roy Wiggins, Boyce Farmers Market Stallholders president.

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