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January 29, 2023

Local Farmers Markets close because some won’t follow COVID rules

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Craig ‘Banana Man’ Evans at the Byron Farmers Market. Photo Elize Strydom.

Local Farmers’ Markets have had to make a tough decision to close down after some customers refuse to follow COVID safety rules.

Mullumbimby (Friday), Byron (Thursday) and Bangalow (Saturday) Farmers Markets have officially been called off by their respective management committees. The decision on whether the New Brighton Farmers Market will run next Tuesday will be made over the weekend.

‘As of this afternoon (10 August) there are now three confirmed COVID-19 cases in our area. In light of this, the Byron Farmers Market committee believes we cannot safely proceed with the market this Thursday, August 12,’ the Byron Framers Market management committee told The Echo.

‘We understand this is a blow to many – including our farmers – but this decision has not been made lightly or easily. However, in the end, it was the only decision if we are to be honest and responsible.

Risk to health

‘Ultimately, the committee’s decision came down to community health and we are not prepared to risk that.

‘This decision was made after consultation with Byron Shire Council and local police. Two of the factors that influenced this decision are:

‘1. The unique nature of the original COVID-19 case announced yesterday. The man in question has not been cooperating with police and NSW Health and was not wearing a mask or using QR check-in codes while in our region, which makes contract tracing extremely difficult. While some close contact locations have been revealed this afternoon, there will be more to come. At this stage we do not know exactly where he has been or how many others he may have infected. Given he has been circulating within our community for at least five days while infectious poses an obvious risk. Add to that the large number of people we usually have on site at the farmers market, and we believe this combination is potentially dangerous – at least until we have a clearer picture of the impact of this case.

‘2. Lack of compliance. While we are thankful and appreciative of the many customers who have supported us by following NSW Health directives regarding compliance – wearing masks, using QR codes to check-in and social distancing – there is still a significant number who do not cooperate with these safety measures. It has been very challenging for us to try to enforce these directives, so we feel the only option is to cancel this week’s market rather than risk public health.’

Mullum market closes

Mullumbimby, Byron and Bangalow Farmers Markets have officially been called off by their respective management committees due to lack of compliance with COVID safety regulations.

The management committee for Mullumbimby Farmers Market cited similar reasons for their closure this Friday, 11 August.

‘Ultimately the decision came down to safety for our community, farmers and staff as too many people were not cooperating with our COVID-19 safety plan and we need time to reassess the situation,’ the committee told The Echo.

‘This comes as a massive blow to the committee and all of our stallholders who have been working towards local food security in our region for 11 years. Our market management has been working extremely hard to develop a framework that the market could operate safely but given that we are now in lockdown and confirmed COVID-19 cases have been very active in our region.

‘We would like to recognise and thank our customers who have supported the markets COVID-19 plan and NSW Health directives. But we also need to address the fact that the refusal to comply and work with market management by a significant number of customers has influenced this decision as we cannot guarantee 100 per cent adherence to the plan and safety for all of our customers and stallholders. Community health and well-being have to remain a priority.’

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  1. My sympathies to Market Management, Stall Holders, and those customers who act in accordance with Covid safety plans in consideration of the health and safety of others.

  2. Congratulations to the committee of the Framers Markets to put the safety of the community first. How unfortunate that they have to lose their livelihood due to selfish people who won’t comply with the safety regulations. Once again, the majority have to suffer for the moronic minority.

    • Totally agree I can’t get to work on the Gold Coast because of selfish non compliant people I’m so annoyed just throw the book at them 5k fines are not enough to make people take notice.

  3. I’m sure many sellers can be accessed to buy their wares online, through the Market website or their respective business name site or page.

  4. Thank you to all involved going above and beyond to keep us safe while attending farmers market…… You have put so much hard work into staying open since all this started and now because of such selfish people who won’t be told what to do you have had to make this very difficult decision…… Really people is it that hard to sign in and wear a mask for a short while in market! Start thinking of others instead of yourself and let these wonderful markets get back on track bring 7s wonderful produce, atmosphere and music…… Thank you Mullum Farmers Market and team

  5. Very wise & sensible decision of the Market Management Committee. I applaud their courage & sense of community responsibility. Pity others weren’t as sensible. After all this damn Covid virus has surely shown us that we MUST stick together & protect our loved ones & community first. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU but the entire community. Millions of deaths worldwide, is not fake /conspiratorial news it is the sad reality.

    • Actually it’s they who should go figure. Beliefs are people’s own but this boils down to consideration of the health of others. Even if only when you’re out and about. FFS it’s only a mask!

  6. Its a real shame that the many have to suffer for the few.The idiot whose wife was sick with the virus chose selfishly to inflict it on the rest of us rather than dwell too much on the potential devastating societal consequences thanks to his ignorance .He and his two big boys wandered all over the area for 9 days separately and together with him making two trips on consecutive days to the chemist……obviously because he knew he was not well.I gather he just thinks hard luck for the rest of us…..the old ,the sick,and those who were enjoying our mostly uninterrupted lives here ……until he brought his totally egocentric opinion made worse by the actuality of his disease.

  7. As reported recently on Sky News, all Covid restrictions in the Canadian Provence of Alberta have been dropped, co incidentally at the same time in a court case over a $1200 Covid fine, their Chief Health Officer , Deena Hinshaw was asked to provide ‘all white papers showing Isolation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in human beings’ ‘ she , nor the Alberta Health ministry could not provide any material evidence , such being integral in crafting the statutes under the Public Health act .
    If those above can provide the material evidence then I will wear a mask, even though the holes in any mask are up to 3000 times bigger than any virus.

    • If two people with trousers on face each other and one guy undoes his zipper and pisses on the other guys trousers , the other guy is gunna feel the wetness on his leg. If the first guy doesn’t undo his zipper but just pisses in his trousers, he’s not going to wet anyone else.
      Therefore everyone wearing their mask around you is protecting you while your unmasked and infecting them.

    • Sounds like an incoherent soverign citizen comment. a) Alberta has not dropped its restrictions b) Alberta is actually increasing restrictions c) The court case found Mr King guilty and his demands for ‘white papers’ a legal joke. d) Alberta has provided vast amounts of evidence for those who ask for it and it is on their websites. False information kills. Hopefully no one who is a high risk from COVID complications is following your advice.

      Anton, ‘Q’ your lizard overload says you need to use more alfoil when covering your head from gov’t microwave messages.

  8. I find it deplorable that such a fear fueled decision has been made! If this is the decision that the committee has made, then I think it’s time to oust the current bunch and replace them with people who will stand up for the farmers and producers who, with loving dedication, feed our community.

    As for the Echo, you have for some time now become an irrelevant newspaper, that is no longer unbiased in your reporting. Thankfully you still have one use, suppressing the weeds, albeit, now only in the garden.


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