An organic farmer is raising questions about the decision to close the outdoor Rotorua Farmers' Market, but some stallholders say they are grateful it's continuing in any capacity.
On Tuesday, the Rotorua Lakes Council announced the farmers' market would be suspended until further notice, due to precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
However, on Friday morning the council announced it would be continuing the market as a "limited offering" on Sunday at its rainy day indoor venue at 1180 Hinemoa St.
The number of shoppers in the space was to be limited and careful cleaning and sanitising procedures would also take place.
Local organic grower Jenny Lux said she thought the council was being "too conservative" and she hoped it would review the decision.
"It's easy for them to close the market, it's not easy for the stallholders ... or the customers."
The farmers' market was "just like a supermarket", she said.
Lux does not have a stall in the market but did previously. Instead, she runs a vegetable home delivery service, but said it was not "easy or practical" for the other growers to do the same.
"Outdoor gatherings [under 500 people] are still allowed, and markets with healthy food are exactly what we need at present."
In other places, such as Hawke's Bay and Dunedin, farmers' markets were going ahead, albeit with strict social distancing measures in place.
Council operations manager Jocelyn Mikaere said the council needed to follow advice provided by the Ministry of Health to keep everyone safe.
"[The] council is continuing to discuss how it can support stallholders who are affected by the cancellations and limited market.
She said the market was "usually likely" to have more than 500 people in attendance throughout its duration and it would have been difficult to monitor numbers at its usual outdoor location at Te Manawa, the city's centre.
"There is also the inability to trace anyone should there be an instance of someone with Covid-19 attending the market."
The weekly cost of the market was approximately $1750, which included staff, security, the rainy day store, entertainment and rubbish collection. Its average weekly income excluding GST was $500.
Mikaere said council staff made contact with the stallholders after the decision was made.
"Alternative options for sale were discussed.
"Most of the stallholders, while disappointed, understood and supported the decision to cancel."
There was an average of 10 to 12 stallholders at this time of the year, she said, and the indoor trial would give five to six fresh produce vendors an opportunity to continue their sales.
"Other stallholders sell gifts or non-perishable items, which are available via their own social media or websites. Others are based out of the district and will look to continue sales there."
She said holding the market inside allowed the council to manage the number of people entering the store and provided staff the opportunity to reiterate Ministry of Health information and also ask any health and safety questions necessary.
Grow Together Farms was one of the four vendors. Co-owner Jordyn Barbour said she had initially been "a bit shocked" by the closure of the outdoor market.
"We live in a bit of a bubble out in Ngakuru."
She couldn't understand why the supermarkets remained open while the farmers' market had been closed, but now understood the council was taking a conservative approach.
"Their stance is it's a very serious virus and they want to take action now, even if it's a bit of an overreaction. They want to set an example for the rest of the country.
"Who knows, maybe in a couple of months it won't be an overreaction."
Grow Together was "going with the flow" and was grateful the council had kept some stalls, including theirs, open by moving the market indoors.
The council had also waived the charge for the stall.
Barbour said she felt for the other stalls in the market which were no longer able to participate.
Farmers' Markets NZ chairman Jono Walker said his group was "very strongly" of the position Farmers' Markets were not events and should continue to trade.
"The community needs an opportunity to support our farmers ... many of whose livelihoods depend on their weekly trading at farmers' markets."
On Thursday, the Government extended a ban on outdoor gatherings of over 500 to indoor gatherings of 100 people.
Health Minister David Clark said the measures did not apply to workplaces, schools, supermarkets or public transport.