The Whanganui River Markets have been canned for the next two weeks as organisers work out how to operate under the new rules of Covid-19 alert level 2.
Market convener Annette Main said the restrictions around customer capacity, how many market stalls they could have, distancing and monitoring compliance all factored in the decision to delay the return of the markets.
"It's usually such a large, loud and happy place, which locals love because they can mingle with their family and friends, gather on the riverbank to enjoy their time together, browse the stalls to find something they need or a special treat, chat to their favourite stallholders," Main said.
"We can only fit 20 stalls maximum. People can't stop and chat, it just doesn't feel like the markets. All you will be doing is grabbing what you want, and going. We didn't see that as the markets."
With about 120 stallholders generally at the River Markets, Main said choosing just 20 of them to operate wouldn't be fair.
"Stallholders deserve to have enough people visiting the market to make their preparation and hard work worthwhile. We do not think we can deliver on these, given the increased level 2 restrictions."
Main said mask compliance around Whanganui could be improved, and felt that waiting to see if any rules changed or the region moved down alert levels would be the most appropriate option.
"It wasn't easy and it took us ages to decide."
Other market operators around New Zealand have approached the Government and tried to make the case they are an essential service so they can operate with looser restrictions, but so far nothing has manifested.
"That has not been accepted yet. They still treat markets as events or gatherings, which I'm reasonably comfortable with because it is huge. I understand why we are treated as an event.
"We think it is best for our community that we do not operate for the next two weekends, and reconsider once we know what people's compliance with the current level 2 restrictions are, and what the numbers of Covid infections look like over the next week or so.
"We will be back."