Market vendors in Townsville have been without income for two weeks, after a woman who tested positive to COVID-19 visited the event.
- The Cotters Markets will resume this weekend after a two-week suspension
- Hundreds of people had to isolate after a woman who later tested positive to COVID-19 visited the markets
- Organisers say some vendors lost their only source of income
Hundreds of people were identified as close contacts of the case, including stallholders at Cotters Market.
Crystal Creek grower Matthias Fehrenbacher had to endure two weeks of isolation after his family stall, My Fruit Shop, was identified as a close contact.
During that time off, Mr Fehrenbacher said, he lost a “truckload” of fresh produce that had to be picked and dumped.
“The first week we thought we would pick everything and pack it and send it to someone else,” he said.
“Then we found out we weren’t allowed to do that either, after we had already packed it all.
Mr Fehrenbacher said the produce had to be picked to prevent disease to his crop but he was not able to sell the fruit or vegetables due to his own risk of having COVID-19.
After a difficult 18 months for the agricultural sector and with few seasonal workers to pick crops, Mr Fehrenbacher said the markets’ closure hit hard.
“We’re already understaffed and we’re just getting back on top of things after last year,” he said.
Mr Fehrenbacher said he would like to see financial aid offered to businesses who were affected by the three-day lockdown and consequent 14-day isolation period.
Markets organiser Cliff Kern said there were dozens of vendors who had been affected.
“It has been heartbreaking,” Mr Kern said.
“Unfortunately, everybody on the street that day had to go do their first test and lock themselves away for 14 days, then go get a second test.
Mr Kern said many stallholders had lost two weeks of income.
“A lot of those who come down to Cotters on a Sunday, this is their only form of income,” he said.
The Cotters Markets will resume this weekend, and those identified as close contacts completed two weeks of isolation at the weekend, with zero cases of community transmission recorded in the north.
Organisers of the Cotters Markets are promoting another event to be held in Townsville’s Flinders Street East this Friday evening.
Mr Kern encouraged the community to attend the Twilight Markets on Friday and the Cotters Markets on Sunday to support vendors who had been doing it tough.