With local businesses hopefully eyeing a tentative return to safe operations in the coming weeks, the Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market has announced its opening day of the 2020 season while taking every precaution into account. On Saturday May 23rd, the market will reopen with its usual hours of 9am-1pm and will run through October 31st with 29 vendors currently scheduled to participate in the weekly market at this time. Given the current situation and the massive shift in how businesses operate thanks to the spread of COVID-19, market organizers have taken the time to explain necessary precautions and safety guidelines that will be in place to protect both customers and vendors alike.
The market will utilize its covered barn as well as outside concrete and grassy areas, relying on the CDC recommendations of six feet of social distancing. Leaders at the market have posted a preliminary vendor layout map on the Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market website that shows designated entrances and exits as well as two hand washing stations, handicap accessibility, and widely spaced vendor booths. Social distancing protocols will be enforced by Market Manager, board members, local volunteers, interns and vendors. Through their social media outlets, newsletter, both the Town and market websites, the market will provide social distancing protocols to the public and customers of the market. There will also be visible signage onsite at the market. The market’s usual Musician Program, Community Guests, Library Children’s Program and monthly Artisan Days have been discontinued until further notice. Picnic tables will not be put out for public seating and organizers have decided to restrict eating food onsite.
Vendor booths will be spaced a minimum of six feet apart say organizers, with customer spacing in front as well. Shoppers found gathering or socializing will be reminded of social distancing protocols and will be discouraged from bringing dogs to the market for the time being. The market will maintain one customer entry and one exit and customers will not enter the market through marked off areas. The market has also implemented chalk lines or markings to illustrate proper distancing between shoppers and vendor booths. Like many businesses adapting to the times, curbside pick up for pre-ordered and prepaid items will be made available if coordinated between vendor and shopper. The market will supply two hand washing stations and hand sanitizer for vendor and customer use as well as cleaning supplies, wipes and gloves made available through the market manager for vendor and customer use.
With full scale safety measures firmly in place, market organizers are excited to announce a new, ‘tiered’ sponsorship program just rolled out for 2020 patrons and are encouraging more SNAP customers to take advantage of market essentials. The market will once again be offering a matching program via Double Up Food Bucks, where all SNAP customers can get up to $20 per- week in free produce and fruit. Some vendors, on their own, have also decided to offer further discounts to SNAP customers. A brand new online ordering option will be implemented in the coming week via the WhatsGood app, allowing customers to place their order online, individually with each vendor and then pick up at the market.
For more information and market updates visit them on social media @CopakeHillsdaleFarmersMarket or by visiting their website copakehillsdalefarmersmarket.com