SYDNEY—This Easter, at fish markets around Australia things look very different. Although many have extended their Easter business hours, shoppers can expect extra security as they search for the freshest seafood during this long weekend.
Last Good Friday, about 50,000 people (pdf) flocked to the Sydney Fish Market, which is the largest seafood market in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, only 400 people are allowed in at any one time.
To manage the crowds, on arrival, shoppers are greeted with restricted parking and pedestrian entry. Police are enforcing social distancing, and workers in hazmat suits, gloves, and masks will be taking everyone’s temperature.
All visitors must undergo a temperature check conducted by hazmat-suited nurses. Much of the site is also operating under a one-way system, in order to get shoppers directly in and out.
These measures have been added to slow the spread of the (Chinese Communist Party) CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, while enabling families to still enjoy their seafood meal at home.
The market’s website says business has been slower than usual, but they expect an uptick over the weekend given how many people eat seafood for Easter meals.
For many Christians, eating seafood goes hand in hand with Easter, as they abstain from other types of meat. Fish, oysters, prawns, and lobsters are all popular for meals on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In Sydney, about 57 percent of the population self-identifies as Christian.
This year, shoppers have also been encouraged to order their fish online. According to Sydney Fish Market’s management plan, “Many of the market’s retailers are now accepting online orders and are making deliveries.”
The market was also encouraging customers to shop earlier in the week, and posted advice about refrigeration and freezer storage on the website.
Fyshwick Markets in Canberra, a market dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, including seafood, will also look different this Easter. There will be security on-site to manage social distancing and a limited number of customers permitted to enter each store, at any one time.
Melbournians looking for a seafood feast also need to follow new rules at The Fish Hall in the Queen Victoria Markets. The markets have added crowd-control measures including providing a special access route and limiting the number of customers entering.