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Florence Kataoyak, from Ulukhaktok displays her wares at an Arctic Market. As part of the first phase of reducing restrictions, the Arctic Summer Market will be happening on schedule this year, albeit with a few changes.
(NNSL file photo)

Phase One of the government of the Northwest Territories “Emerging Wisely” plan is underway and the Town of Inuvik will host its summer Arctic Market on schedule, albeit with a few changes.

Historically the Town starts its summer bazaars on the weekend of the solstice and 2020 will be no exception. The first summer market is scheduled for June 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Under the rules laid out by Dr. Kami Kandola on May 15, gatherings of up to 25 people including outdoor markets are allowed if they meet certain safety requirements.

“I’m excited, though a little bit trepidatious,” said Mayor Natasha Kulikowski. “I’m still wondering where is it hiding and when is it going to come out, but definitely nice to see that we’re able to start moving forward a little bit.”

Because Chief Jim Koe Park will be undergoing construction this summer, the Market will be moving to the Gwich’in Road side of the Midnight Sun Complex, across from the Inuvik Youth Centre. Capacity will be limited to maintain safe COVID-19 practices.

Kulikowski said the town was looking into a gate and ticket system to ensure the market doesn’t go over capacity. She added vendors would have to have proper PPE and sanitation plans in place to able to open up shop.

There will also be fewer tables available to keep in compliance with the 25-person limit. However, the town have waived all fees for vendors except for those who need access to power. For that service the town is charging $10 per outlet, with a limit of one outlet per vendor. There are a total of five power outlets available.

Vendors will have to obtain a Temporary Food Establishment Permit from the GNWT Office of Environmental Health before they will be able to set up and will have to have obtained it two days before the weekend they wish to do business.

COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of initiatives, but one area the town is staying the course on is its ban on Styrofoam products. However, the town is only allowing vendors to use single-use cutlery, so vendors will need to stock up on paper and or compostable food containers.

Kulikowski said the town was looking towards other venues that could also be opened up under phase one, but added that she expected summer 2020 to still be very subdued in comparison to other years.

“One of the things in our top priority is to get the playgrounds re-opened, and part of that is actually having a disinfectant program in place,” she said. “This first phase is really a slow opening to test the waters. A group of 25 is pretty small when you think of it, so it’s really going to take some planning on being able to do at a larger scale.

“I’m pretty sure the whole country is thinking of stuff like Indigenous Day and Canada Day and how they will come about, but personally I think this might be the year where we do those things from our yards as a community. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a grand re-opening any time soon.

“Just because some restrictions have been lifted doesn’t mean everything is over. We still need to be diligent, we need to be doing our social distancing, wearing masks and washing out hands. The things we’ve been doing for the last 10 weeks need to just become a regular part of what we’re doing.”

Applications are accepted after June 1 and pre-registration is required. Interested merchants can call 867.777.8618 or email events@inuvik.ca for more information.

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Eric Bowling

A lover of knowledge and adventure, Eric Bowling jumped at the opportunity to write for the Inuvik Drum and to see the world from a totally different vantage point. He has covered just about everything...

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