Garage and yard sales are a go once more in Huntsville.
Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano told fellow councillors at their June 24 meeting that the municipality had fielded questions from community members asking when garage sales would be allowed again.
She asked council for input.”I believe it’s time to allow garage sales,” responded Councillor Bob Stone.
Councillor Tim Withey questioned how allowing garage and yard sales fit with the Province’s lifting of restrictions. “Is it prudent to do this? I mean, I’ve been hearing anecdotally some things around town where people are not practising social distancing at all so there’s still a concern with that.”
Provincially, the number of people allowed to gather had gone from five to 10 but whether to lift restrictions on such events is up to the municipality, said Terziano.
Councillor Dan Armour said the people who operate the yard sales should be the ones policing safety, not unlike farmers’ markets. “Post some signs maybe, maybe make that part of the rules. I think it should be fine. I think we should be opening them,” he added.
“I think I’m inclined to also open them as well,” echoed Councillor Nancy Alcock who also asked what other municipalities were doing.
Huntsville CAO Denise Corry told council that to the best of her knowledge other municipalities in Muskoka had not banned garage sales. “I believe that we were the only municipality that did.”
Councillor Brian Thompson said he would support allowing people to hold garage and yard sales once again.
“My experience has been that wherever I’ve gone in town, or wherever actually, people are basically distancing themselves on their own,” said Thompson, who reasoned that now that people could gather in groups of ten, “you seldom ever see more than 10 people at any one time at a garage sale. I mean they’re very fluid, people come and go. So I think as long as the vendors are aware and ask people to be socially responsible, I don’t see a problem with this.”
Withey said his concern is that while farmers’ markets have liability insurance, a homeowner holding a garage sale may not be covered under their homeowner’s policy. “So if there’s an issue where somebody decides they’ve become ill because they’ve gone to a busier than normal garage sale, then there could be repercussions that way, and all the way back to us,” he said. “If people feel that’s an acceptable risk I guess they can take it.”
When put to a vote, the majority of council voted in favour of rescinding a bylaw previously passed by council which prohibited garage and yard sales in Huntsville.
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