PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CHARLES CITY CHAMBER:
CHARLES CITY – Working within new state requirements and guidelines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charles City Farmers Market will open for the season as scheduled on Saturday, May 2nd.
“As we all adjust to the new reality and what is going on in the world, things will be a little different with the market starting out,” said Community Development Director Mark Wicks. “Following state requirements all famers markets will be limited for now to the sale of farm products and food items only, with an emphasis being placed on public health measures and social distancing.”
The Charles City market will be held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 3:30-6 p.m. on Blunt Street adjacent to Central Park. Fresh produce, baked goods, plants and flowers from area producers will be for sale as always. Soap, lotions and sanitizers are also being allowed, as is the sale of protective masks. However other goods like crafts, clothing and home décor items are not being allowed – for now.
“This is a fluid situation and subject to change throughout the season as determined by the State,” said Wicks. “The primary focus is on public health and essential items like food.”
Social distancing is still in effect with the minimum 6-foot rule and no more than 10 people gathered together in a group. Therefore vendor booths will be more spaced out for now and feature a safety barrier in front of the food items. Customers will be able to see but not be allowed to touch food items prior to purchase. Vendor precautions will also be made to reduce contact, have separate people handle food and money, reclean vending surfaces throughout the day and provide hand sanitizer at each vendor station. A hand washing station will also be provided at the market for public use.
“We are asking at this time that households please limit to one shopper at the market at a time instead of the whole family to help keep down the number of people going through and maintain safe distances as much as possible,” reported Wicks. “For now the market is not open to children and pets, again for safety reasons, and any customer or vendor not feeling well or who has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is asked not to enter the market area.”
The state is also discouraging customers or groups from congregating at the market by not allowing sampling, food demonstrations or entertainment at this time. Vendors and customers are encouraged, but not required, to wear protective masks. Eating of food in the market area is also being prohibited by the State at this time.
“Again everything right now is subject to change in the coming weeks and months,” Wicks said. “Farmers markets are so important with their fresh, locally grown produce and other offerings, especially now with what’s going on because you know where your food is coming from and there is a much shorter supply chain from the farm to your table.”
Vendors interested in participating in the Charles City Farmers Market should contact the Community Revitalization office at (641) 228-2335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The daily vendor fee is $15, while the full seasonal fee is $75.