What a difference a week makes.
After beloved Jan Power’s farmer’s markets at New Farm were criticized last week when photos of large crowds emerged, the numbers were down this morning with obvious protective measures in place.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk was visibly angry after the photos were published in the Sunday Mail last week, prompting him to declare that “market tourism” was not activated.
Shane Prior, vice president of the Queensland Police Union also condemned the behavior of the crowds.
But this morning the numbers were far below normal, although it was difficult to say whether this was due to the long Easter weekend.
The nearby riverside promenade, which as recently as Thursday was filled with joggers, walkers, cyclists and motorcyclists, was also very quiet and there were few people using the adjacent New Farm Park .
Market organizers moved the two rows of booths 20 meters apart to help buyers disperse, distant social marshals in high-visibility vests patrolled the crowd and basins and hand sanitizer were placed at the entrances.
Regulars Cameron Jamie and Haleh Faham said they did not come last weekend but that they felt very safe with the new measures.
“I think it’s a good idea that they moved the stands away,” said Jamie.
Ms. Faham said that they both took advantage of the hand sanitizer before entering.
Mr. Jamies said, “I am glad it continues. Markets are good for people’s spiritual well-being – there are not many outside options in this area.”
Friends Sandra Liddell and Suzann Kati said they felt safer in the markets than shopping in a supermarket.
Ms. Kati, who lost her job in the hospitality industry due to the suppression of the virus, said that she felt for the merchants and was happy that they are still allowed to operate.
Tweed Valley fruit and vegetable producers Murray and Lillian Cox said the photos taken last week were misleading and that the distance between buyers was actually greater than it appeared.
“Our daughter also has a stall in the West End markets. It’s our livelihood,” said Ms. Cox.
“We have been here at Jan Powers from the start, 20 years ago, and we have built up a loyal following – some of our clients were there from the start.
“I think it’s unfair (negative publicity). The organizers (of the market) have done a great job with distancing measures.”
Originally published as Crowd on the markets after the repression of social distancing