WE’LL SERVE YOU: Shane Stanley of the Noosa Farmers Markets. Photo Geoff Potter
WE’LL SERVE YOU: Shane Stanley of the Noosa Farmers Markets. Photo Geoff Potter

Hands off the fresh produce during coronavirus pandemic

KEEP your hands to yourself. That's the message from Noosa Farmer's Markets operator Shane Stanley.

"There's too much touching going on," Mr Stanley said.

From this weekend, stallholders will not be allowing customers to touch the fresh produce on display.

"People don't need to touch the fruit to know it's real, so we'll be stopping that."

However, Mr Stanley said Noosa market-goers had been otherwise "very well behaved".

That wasn't the case elsewhere, with large crowds photographed ignoring social distancing rules at weekend markets in Brisbane.

Mr Stanley said new rules and regulations had been implemented and "for the last two weeks the customers have completely adapted".

"The social distancing rules are in place and we haven't had any more than 500 people at any one time," he said.

"We were the first to install handwashing basins - we had those built within a week. So onsite we have two handwashing basins and four hand sanitising stations, which are all free to use."

This weekend more precautions will be put in place, including wider aisles and staff controlling the wider entry and exit points.

"People are imagining 1500 people jammed in there, but that's not happening … people come in and out, there are no food courts, no dining, so we have less than 500 people there at any one time."

Mr Stanley said it was important the markets continued to operate for local farmers and businesses.

"We are taking in new stalls and businesses that need support," he said.

"They have to be a local business here though … farmers have to be from our region when it comes to produce and food producers from Noosa over this difficult time.

"If a baker from Maleny applied, we'd say no, we want a Noosa baker so at the end (of the coronavirus pandemic) these guys are still operating in some form and our community can rebuild."

The markets are also developing a click and collect virtual marketplace that will be up and running in the next few weeks.