The Vancouver Farmers Market will open this weekend, with some restrictions in place to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The market will operate at its usual downtown location from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays for the time being. The first hour of the market on both days will be reserved for seniors and immunocompromised customers.
Organizers emphasized that shoppers shouldn’t treat the market like a leisurely activity. It serves a solely utilitarian purpose.
“If you come to shop, you will find that the Market looks different than you remember,” organizers posted on the market’s dedicated Facebook page Monday evening. “This is not a social outing, but an opportunity to buy local, nutrient dense, essential grocery items.”
The Farmers Market will be in the 800 block of Esther Street.
It’s a scaled-down version, compared to the more than 150 vendors that would constitute the market during normal times. Only those with products designated as “essential” under Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order will be allowed to participate, and all the typical community aspects of the market have been eliminated — no live music, no places to eat or congregate, and no educational programs.
A list presented to the Vancouver City Council on April 20 by Jordan Boldt, executive director of the market, indicates that the following categories of vendors will participate:
- Eight produce stands
- Six meat and dairy vendors
- Eleven bakeries
- Sixteen prepackaged food vendors
- Six beverage stands
Additionally, only 150 people will be allowed within the boundary of the market at any given time, with monitors stationed at the two entrances and exits to keep track. Staff from the city’s parking department will also be on-site to ensure people are adhering to social distancing guidelines and staying at least 6 feet apart.
Shoppers will be encouraged to use the handwashing and hand sanitizing stations set up around the market, or bring their own hand sanitizer. Organizers are strongly discouraging more than one person per household from attending the market, and urging customers to bring a list and shop fast.
They’re also asking customers to “shop with their eyes” and avoid touching merchandise. Vendors will be encouraged to pick and bag goods, instead of shoppers.
No non-service dogs will be allowed.