Concerns for public health have seen the cancellation of Thursday's Bendigo Community Farmers' Market
Market manager Chris Hain said that while government restrictions did not affect the food market, as it was classed as an essential service, the City of Greater Bendigo determined the market presented too great a risk.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke said the council was not comfortable with the market proceeding, as it was not possible to properly control social distancing or hand hygiene.
"Even if attendance numbers were capped or controlled in some way, people would possibly still be touching produce and exchanging money and we felt it was too much of a risk to people's health and safety," Cr O'Rourke said.
Mr Hain said market organisers had outlined protocols to minimise risk, including social distancing, personal hygiene measures and eliminating cash handling.
But Cr O'Rourke said the council would not be able to support any such event at the present time, regardless of measures put in place, because of the risk of people congregating.
"We want people to access fresh food but where that access is taking place on public land, we have to be comfortable people would be safe and that is not possible at this time," she said.
Mr Hain - also president of the Victorian Farmers' Market Association - said restrictions differed between councils: some were also cancelling such markets, while others allowed them to go ahead.
But the Bendigo Community Farmers' Market team are still trying to find ways to connect producers with customers.
Mr Hain said some stallholders would set up small-scale pop-ups in front of The Good Loaf and Masons during the usual market times.
Social distancing will be enforced and pre-ordering is available.
Stallholder Heather Pollard, from Pollards Organics, was at The Good Loaf and said the changes were nobody's fault.
"We're all in the same boat, we've just got a different paddle," she said.
Mr Hain said the market team was also working on building on online shopfront, through which they would direct customers to the online shops of producers.
He said they would also help producers without an online presence to establish an online store, if they wished.
"For fruit and vegetable growers, it's their abundant time," Mr Hain said.
For more information on what is available today, visit the market Facebook page.
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