Iconic fish markets set for crowded annual Xmas marathon
It's just not Christmas unless the iconic Sydney seafood sale that draws tens of thousands of people at all hours of the day - and night.
But trading at Sydney Fish Market's 36-hour seafood marathon will look a little different this year, thanks to strict COVID measures that have been put in place.
In previous years, the market has drawn more than 100,000 people as they grab last-minute Christmas seafood supplies, with approximately 370 tonnes of seafood sold.
While this year the numbers are expected to be slightly lower, Sydney Fish Market CEO Greg Dyer said the marathon is set to still be very popular.
"While we want to make sure that everyone gets their Christmas seafood supplies, it's also incredibly important to us that we are able to do this while doing our bit to keep everyone safe," he said.
"We've been planning for this event for quite some time now to ensure this is the case.
"However we ask our customers to bring their patience as well as their Christmas cheer while the team and NSW Police look to get shoppers in and out safely, promptly and of course, with plenty of scrumptious seafood in tow."
Luckily, there are a number of retailers at the Sydney Fish Markets who will be offering an online pre-order and home delivery services in the lead up to and during the marathon.
There will also be plenty of Australian produce on showcase this year, including the Western Australian Rock Lobster.
The market closures in China meant there was an increased supply of the "premium" product for domestic markets, which has seen its price decrease by up to 50 per cent.
"As with most Christmas periods, we will see a lot of Aussie classics flying off the ice. Prawns, oysters, crabs, and salmon will be popular favourites, as is usual at this time of year," Mr Dyer said.
"With the relaxation in exports Australian Rocklobster is in abundant supply this year so we expect many customers to be including this in their Christmas feast which is great to see as it supports Aussie producers."
Other popular seafood choices for Christmas include barramundi, snapper, blue swimmer crab, kingfish and ocean jacket.
NSW Health is urging shoppers during the Christmas rush to maintain social distancing and other COVID safe practices.
"This year we're asking people to avoid crowded shopping centres. If the shopping centre is too crowded, you should consider returning at an off-peak time, doing your gift shopping online or shopping locally at community businesses," NSW Health's Dr Chatu Yapa said.
"It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask and minimise time spent inside shops if you can't physically distance.
"If you're unwell, please don't go shopping. Stay home and get tested immediately. This is one of the best ways you can protect others during this busy season."
Those who plan to visit during the marathon are encouraged to keep an eye on Sydney Fish Market's social media accounts and website, which will be updated regularly with important information regarding parking and tips for planning their visit.
SYDNEY FISH MARKET COVID CHANGES
- If you are coming by car: The main Sydney Fish Market car park will be closed, aside from disabled parking. Alternative carparking will be available at Sydney Secondary College and the Fig & Wattle council site. Parking will be charged at a flat rate of $5.
- There will be a single point of entry to the site, allowing management of registration via QR code and temperature testing, as well as socially distanced queuing.
- Visitors will need to observe social distancing at all times, including when inside their chosen retailers, and are asked to follow the instructions of staff. Masks are also encouraged.
- Doors will open from 5am Wednesday 23rd December, until 5pm Christmas Eve
- The extensive COVID-safe management plans in place will allow the market to welcome 100,000 visitors across the course of the 36 hours.
Originally published as How fish markets will tackle crowds for annual Xmas marathon