Strict social distancing measures were in force this morning markets after uproar at crowds last week.
Strict social distancing measures were in force this morning markets after uproar at crowds last week.

Crowds down at markets after social distancing crackdown

What a difference one week makes.

After the beloved Jan Power's farmers markets at New Farm came under fire last week when photos emerged of large crowds, numbers were well down this morning with obvious protection measures in force.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was visibly angry after the photos appeared in The Sunday Mail last week, prompting her to declare "market tourism'' was not on.

Queensland Police union vice-president Shane Prior also condemned crowd behaviour.

But this morning numbers were way down on normal, although it was hard to tell if that was due to the Easter long weekend.

The nearby riverfront promenade, which as recently as Thursday was packed with joggers, walkers, cyclists and scooter riders, was very quiet as well and there were few people using the adjacent New Farm park.

Market organisers moved the two rows of stalls 20m further apart to help shoppers spread out, social distancing marshalls in high-vis vests patrolled the crowd and basins and hand sanitiser were placed at entrances.

Regulars Cameron Jamie and Haleh Faham said they had not attended last weekend but felt very safe with the new measures.

"I think it's a good idea that they moved the stalls further apart,'' Mr Jamie said.

Ms Faham said they had both taken advantage of the hand sanitiser before entering.

Mr Jamies said: "I am pleased it's still going. The markets are good for people's spiritual wellbeing - there aren't a lot of outside options in this area.''

Friends Sandra Liddell and Suzann Kati said they felt safer at the markets than shopping at a supermarket.

Ms Kati, who lost her hospitality industry job because of the virus crackdown, said she felt for the stallholders and was glad they were still allowed to operate.

Murray and Lillian Cox from Zesty Herbs and Salads.
Murray and Lillian Cox from Zesty Herbs and Salads.

Tweed Valley produce growers Murray and Lillian Cox said the photos taken last week were misleading and the distance between shoppers was actually greater than it appeared.

"Our daughter also has a stall, at West End markets. This is our livelihood,'' Ms Cox said.

"We've been here at Jan Powers from the beginning, 20 years ago, and have built up a loyal following - some of our customers were here right at the start.

"I think it is unfair (the negative publicity). The (market) organisers have done a great job with distancing measures.''

Originally published as Crowds down at markets after social distancing crackdown



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