The downtown farmers market will return to 10th Street on May 2 with a different look under COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Kristen Barrios, district manager for Tracy City Center Association, which sponsors the market, said the market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 31, but it will be smaller than usual.
“As it sits right now, the only vendors that will be at the farmers market will be produce, vegetables and baked goods. There will be no artisan vendors, no hot food vendors or entertainment,” Barrios said. “We are really trying to steer people away from standing around and waiting. We want them to think of the market essentially as a grocery store: Get your produce and vegetables and head on out.”
Barrios said the market will still be on West 10th Street between B Street and Central Avenue, but with more space between vendors. Market managers will tape off sections and allow only a certain number of people in at a time to prevent crowding.
Shoppers will enter at Central Avenue and be given a ticket to show while making their purchases.
The market is taking other measures to minimize contact.
“Vendors will be taking their own course of action by pre-bagging their fruits and vegetables to prevent people from touching and putting back,” Barrios said. “I think this will be good for any concerns of sanitation.”
She urged shoppers not to drop gloves or masks on the street.
“The farmers market is defined as an essential business, and we don’t want to cause litter by people trying to protect themselves using gloves because that is a whole other problem,” Barrios said.
She encouraged people to be patient if they need to wait in line to get into the market and remember to respect social distancing guidelines, staying at least 6 feet from people outside their household.
“This is a challenging time for all of us, and we all need to obviously do the grocery shopping and we need to have those items, so I just encourage people to be respectful to each other and the vendors who are still working hard to bring these fruits and vegetables to the market,” Barrios said.
More vendors will return as social distancing orders are relaxed.
“Once the restrictions are lifted, we will definitely be expanding the market back to how it has been in the past,” Barrios said. “Just as it sits right now, we are trying to take all the precautions we can, but again, the farmers market is considered to be an essential business. This is hopefully temporary.”