SAN LUIS VALLEY- According to reports coming from various news organizations, Colorado Farmer Markets, including those here in the San Luis Valley, may have to delay opening due to COVID-19 restrictions. Several area markets were awaiting word from Colorado Governor Jared Polis on whether or not they would be considered an essential business.
With May being the universal time to begin opening farmers markets across the state, some here in the Valley have opted to wait and see how things go, while others have opted not to open at all this year. In an article printed by 9News the Colorado Farmers Market Association has provided markets with new guidelines to follow this summer and how they can open safely, which may take some time and delay openings in some areas.
Like most businesses that are beginning to open around the state, farmers markets are being asked to follow similar guidelines to ensure vendor and consumer safety. Social distancing is one of the main concerns that has helped slow the spread of the virus, so new regulations ask that markets allow fewer people in at a time to allow keeping 6 feet away from one another more manageable.
Other regulations include no sampling of food-based products, the possibility of banning all reusable bags, vendors wear masks at all times and a touchless payment system. While some of the regulations are feasible, others may cause a delay in opening dates, including for those in the Valley.
Other markets across the state have implemented strategies like curbside pickup and online shopping. The Farmers Market scene will be different from years past, but the hope remains that they will be able to open and keep consumers and vendors safe for the coming summer season.
In a statement from Sol Mountain Farms, proprietors had this to say, “While times are still uncertain as to public gatherings and events, we are staying positive and hoping that things will ease up into normalcy soon. Our plan is to host and run the South Fork Friday Market for the 2020 season as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. The market is tentatively set to run from June 5 through Sept. 4 with the start date remaining flexible as we watch things develop.” “We are currently developing new policies such as distanced vendor tents and means for attendees to practice social distancing at the market. We received a grant last year through the SLV Local Foods Coalition, which has given us a budget to improve our marketing, purchase new banners and signs, and elevate the Friday Market to a new level! Thank you for your patience as we keep our eye on the governor and CDC regulations to develop this year’s rules and policies.”
Details about local markets, opening dates and shopping guidelines will be available soon in Valley Publishing newspapers.