The City of Kenora has made the announcement that Matiowski Farmers’ Markets will return under the Whitecap Pavilion this summer, with strict physical distancing guidelines.

Tourism Kenora has been working with the Northwestern Health Unit to explore a new market model, and to plan for safe practices and the safe operation of the market. These include traffic flow and capacity procedures, physical distancing guidelines and more to keep residents as safe as possible.

“This year, the Matiowski Farmers’ Market is going to look a little different, said Matiowski Farmers’ Market Coordinator with the City of Kenora, Helena Devins.

“Under the tent will have up to 10 feet of space between each vendor, and of course the physical distancing measures of two metres per patron. We will look forward to having a handwashing station at the entrance, directional arrows and footprints on where to walk."

“There will be one entrance and exit. The entrance will be the usual main entrance near the Pavilion. You will go towards the stage and through the pavilion, exiting towards the MS Kenora and the Boardwalk.”

The new market model will allow regional food vendors to sell to the community this summer. The city will host up to a maximum of 44 food vendors, with no merchandise or craft vendors, as recommended by the province and Farmers’ Markets Ontario.

Devins adds that at this point, the only vendors at the market will be food vendors from northwestern Ontario, to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the community as safe as possible.

“At this time, we’re waiting on the provincial regulations that are in place in both Ontario and Manitoba. Our hope is that by July 8, the border is open to non-essential travel. At this time, we are moving forward with northwestern Ontario food vendors, with the hope that we can add Manitoba vendors if the regulations and restrictions change.”

The city is no longer accepting applications for vendors due to limited space, added Devins. The application period for the year's markets, prior to COVID-19, ended on March 1.

The proposed model for the Matiowski Farmers’ Market will be held under the Whitecap Pavilion, and the proposed, tentative start date is July 8, 2020. At this time, the City of Kenora plans to host 13 weeks of Matiowski Farmers’ Markets on every Wednesday from July 8 until September 30.

More updates can be found on Tourism Kenora’s Facebook Page.