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It’s ‘essential’ — Farmers’ Market to reopen May 2

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The Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market will kick off its 45th season on Saturday, May 2, with new rules to attempt to assure customer and worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farmers’ markets, like grocery stores, are considered essential businesses under the state’s “stay-at-home” order, and the city’s Health and Human Services Department has developed operational changes to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

Under the new rules:

  • Face coverings will be required for all vendors and shoppers.
  • Traffic flow will be limited to one direction. Entrances and exits will be defined, and the market will be remapped to facilitate physical distancing among customers and vendors. Crowds will be monitored and attendees limited by market staff.
  • Produce and products will be handled only by vendors until the point of sale.
  • Pre-ordering online will be encouraged. Customers paying at pickup will be directed to pass their payment to the vendor using a box or tray to eliminate hand-to-hand contact. Vendors are encouraged to offer contactless payment options.
  • Reusable bags will not be handled by market vendors.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations will be available at the market entrance and exit.
  • Food consumption will not be allowed on site. Free samples will not be provided.
  • Live music and activities will not be offered at the market until further notice. Spud Club children’s activities are postponed.

City officials say those who are sick should not attend the market. High-risk individuals, including those over age 65 and those with underlying health conditions, are also encouraged to stay home. Families are asked to send only one shopper to the market and should have a shopping list prepared ahead of time to limit time spent there.

The market will be open every Saturday, May 2, through Nov. 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at University Place and Oak Avenue, behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is available in the Maple Avenue garage with ticket validation at the City of Evanston tent.

Each week, up to 60 vendors will sell a variety of goods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, flowers, cheese, milk, eggs, baked goods and more. LINK cards are accepted at the market. LINK customers will be able to receive a match of up to $25 per Saturday.

Live animals and pets, other than service animals, are not allowed at the market.

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