Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets market manager Allan Gravelle said the decision to cancel the Whitsunday Markets was “tough”.
Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets market manager Allan Gravelle said the decision to cancel the Whitsunday Markets was “tough”.

'We’ll just hang tight': Vow to bring back beloved markets

MARKETS across the Whitsunday region have been indefinitely cancelled to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Weekend markets are an iconic event for the Whitsunday region, bringing both tourists and residents out to enjoy the sunshine and a little retail therapy.

However, due to the coronavirus crisis both the Bowen and Whitsunday markets have been cancelled for the indefinite future by the Whitsunday Regional Council.

Whitsunday Markets manager Allan Gravelle said the decision was tough, but the "common sense thing to do".

"It's tough, but we will hang tight until this is over and be right back at it," he said.

"The stall holders and members of the community are aware of the requirements, so there haven't been any rebels.

Bowen Markets manager Mark Carty and Whitsunday Slushy’s and Ice Cream George Wade
Bowen Markets manager Mark Carty and Whitsunday Slushy’s and Ice Cream George Wade

"Events are postponed all around the country - all things people love to get out and enjoy - but the message is to stay at home as much as possible at the moment."

The market stalls are a key source of income for both the Bowen and Whitsunday Lions Club, who use the funds to donate to community groups and initiatives around the region.

Mr Gravelle said there would be a drop in the amount of money able to be donated by the Whitsunday Lions, but many Lions groups across the country would be in the same situation.

"It's a downturn, so it's expected we would see less money," he said.

"But we'll be right back at it as soon as we can, so we'll just hang tight and be here when this passes over."

For Bowen Markets manager Mark Carty, the closure was expected but necessary.

He said he would have liked to have been able to open up the markets to essential services, such as fresh fruit and vegetable and takeaway food, but understood the need to reduce large gatherings.

"The move was made by the council to cancel the markets as it was in the interest of public health," he said.

"The fresh food and takeaway could have kept functioning under the measures in place, but there's no way we could have policed the social distancing rules to make sure it was safe.

"People are disappointed, especially the ones who had bought the fresh food ready to sell on the weekend, but I trust it's the right move."

But Mr Carty said those wishing to get their normal fresh vegetables and fruit would still be able to, just across the street.

"Ross and Mary who normally sell veggies with us will still be selling on Holborne St, as the council has said they can do that," he said.

"As soon as the time comes, and we get the approval, we will bring the markets back straight away."


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