GOLOCAL

Planning is under way for a possible reopening of the Whanganui River Markets at Queen's Birthday weekend.

Market co-ordinator Annette Main is contacting regular stallholders to gauge their interest in operating on May 30.

The Whanganui River Markets will operate in
The Whanganui River Markets will operate in "a very constrained fashion" when they reopen, co-ordinator Annette Main says. Photo / File

"We would like to open [then] but basically our primary consideration is the safety of our community and of our stallholders so if we can do it in a way that minimises that risk, we will be," Main said.

Advice is being sought from farmers' markets that operated last weekend, the first under Covid-19 alert level 2 restrictions.

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Markets are limited to 100 people at one time which is "not a lot of people", Main said.

Some stallholders may think it is not worthwhile to operate so she was seeking feedback from other markets on how their stallholders felt about the restrictions after their first day's trading.

"It's a little bit of a work in progress at the moment but we're just amazed by the number of Whanganui people who've been asking us questions and sending us private messages and posting online and saying 'when's the market going to be open?'," Main said.

"We sought advice from the medical officer of health again and he agrees that waiting for two more weeks will be a factor in increasing the safety because we'll know a little bit more about what has happened between level 3 and level 2 and whether that's caused any problems."

When the market starts operating again it will be "in a very constrained fashion", she said.

Market regular Litza Devine, who sells baked goods at her Devine Treats stall, is "keen as beans" for the market to reopen.

"I'm very keen for it to reopen because without it my business will eventually die," Devine said.

"It's a big part of my business."

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During the lockdown, Devine has been doing online sales and said the response during level 3 was tremendous.

"And Mother's Day blew me off the planet - it was so, so busy."

However, last week she had about 25 per cent of her normal market sales and was eager to get her stall back in action, despite the restrictions on numbers at the market.

"We're just going to have to go with the flow initially. It's such a great community sort of thing and I've had lots of people asking me when it's going to be back on. I'm keen as beans."

Details are still being worked through and more information will be available after an opening date is confirmed.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website