While this May looks a little different for all of us, your Whitewater farmers market managers wanted to update the community and let you know we’ll still be here for you with the local foods and fresh produce that you have come to know and love.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recognized farmers markets as essential businesses in the Safer-at-Home order issued earlier this year: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/community.htm
Whitewater City Market and Whitewater Farmers Market have been working closely together throughout this time to modify market operations to keep our communities safe. We’ve tapped into a variety of state and national resources to ensure that we adjust operations as needed to prioritize safety. A list of our market modifications are listed below.
These operational changes will be in effect through the May 23 market, at which point they will be re-evaluated, based on the status of the Safer-at-Home order and local conditions.
General market operations
- Only vendors with consumable, essential food or cleaning items like produce, honey, eggs, coffee, baked goods, soap, etc. are allowed.
- In order to discourage eating on site (which is risky because peoples’ hands often touch their faces when they eat), no sampling or food service of any kind is allowed. Food carts are not allowed, even for take-out only service.
- In order to encourage people to shop as quickly as possible and to discourage market-goers from lingering, there will be no social activities. This includes tables, games, live music, and beer service.
- Market managers and volunteers, when on site, will be there only to help market operations and enforce market rules.
What the markets are doing
- Providing a station with free hand sanitizer and face masks.
- Placing signs throughout the market to remind people to keep at least 6 feet apart from others, to wear a mask and indicating free ones are available, to not hand reusable bags or totes to vendors, and to shop as quickly as possible.
- Reducing our vendors spots to 20 max, eliminating more than every other spot so vendor stands will be at least 10 feet away from each other.
What we are asking vendors to do
- Vendors who are feeling ill or exhibiting symptoms are asked to stay at home.
- We strongly encourage vendors to wear face masks.
- Vendors must enforce physical distancing at their stands so that market-goers cannot come within 6 feet of the vendor.
- Vendors must use hand sanitizer between every transaction. Wearing gloves is discouraged unless they are changed every time the vendor handles paper money or a credit card. Vendors are encouraged to sanitize their tables frequently.
- Vendors must use their own bags to bag items purchased and then place them on the clean buffer table and step back. Market-goers can then approach the table and pick up their purchases and place them in their totes.
- Vendors must offer at least one contactless payment option, including prepayment online or over the phone, a dropbox system for cash or checks, or apps like Venmo, Paypal or Zelle, which allow market goers to pay by phone from a safe distance.
- Vendors must have a sign indicating that market-goers may not handle any products, that they should wait at least 6 feet away from other market-goers if there is a line of people waiting, and that lists which contactless payment options the vendor has.
What the markets are asking market-goers to do
- If you are feeling ill or exhibiting symptoms, we ask that you stay at home.
- We strongly encourage you to wear a face mask; free masks and hand sanitizer are available at a station at the market.
- Keep at least 6 feet away from other shoppers and from vendors. Shop as quickly as possible and avoid conversations or other social interaction.
- Pick a designated shopper in your family when possible, to reduce the number of people at the market.
- Bring your own totes, if you like, but do not hand them to vendors. Vendors will bag items and place them on a table, which you can then pick up and place in your totes.
- You are encouraged to use apps like Venmo, Paypal or Zelle when possible for contactless payment.
As a reminder, Whitewater City Market runs every Tuesday, rain or shine, May through October from 4 to 7 p.m. by the Historic Train Depot. The Whitewater Farmers Market every Saturday rain or shine, May through October, 8 a.m. to noon in a new location this year: the parking lot beside the Historic Train Depot, across from the Fire Department. The physical address for the train depot, for new patrons, is 301 W. Whitewater Street.
We invite you to follow our Facebook accounts for Whitewater City Market and Whitewater Farmers Market to find vendor lists, market highlights, seasonal recipes, and the most up-to-date market information weekly. Stay safe, and thank you for supporting our local farmers and producers.
Lisa Dawsey Smith, Karl Knuteson, and Kristine Zaballos