With an expanded vendor space at Valley Court Park and adjustments to foot traffic flow planned, City staff is prepared to open the East Lansing Farmers Market season on Sunday, June 7, as originally scheduled.
“We are working to make all necessary adjustments to ensure the safest environment possible for our market customers and our vendors,” said Community Events Specialist Justin Drwencke stated in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon. “Additional updates will be provided as we get closer to opening day.”
Vendor selection “will be announced soon.”
City staff are reviewing guidance from the Michigan Farmers Market Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the State of Michigan in the planning process.
Visitors to the market should expect to see “an expansion of the market footprint” to allow for physical distancing, “adjustments to market customer traffic flow,” limits on the number of visitors, hand-sanitizing stations, and other accommodations
“We have received approval to use the parking lot of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, adjacent to the traditional market location in Valley Court Park,” Drwencke stated in an email to ELi. “We will be using the extra space to spread out vendors. We are still finalizing the layout and vendor booth assignments.”
Dogs will not be permitted in the market area, according to Drwencke, and visitors will be encouraged to limit their time at the market and the number of people they’re with. This will certainly change the market culture, as many of those who attend are accustomed to using it in part for socializing.
“As we finalize the layout we’ll review the square footage available to us and make a determination as to how many people should be permitted in the market space at one time,” Drwencke stated. “Our plan is to have a designated entry point and staff will keep track of how many people are in the market at one time.”
Market visitors will be encouraged to wear cloth face coverings/masks, although there are are some community members are unable to do so because of medical conditions. The people working at the market will be wearing face coverings.
The 2020 market season is scheduled to run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays through Oct. 25 in Valley Court Park.