The Santa Barbara Farmers Market is expected to resume as normal with additional safety precautions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The market will deploy nine portable hand-washing stations during today’s market, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cota Commuter Lot, located at the intersection of Cota and Santa Barbara streets. In addition, safety protocol information will be distributed to farmers and customer education will be offered, said Sam Edelman, general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market.
Any future closures would be a result of an internal board decision or a government order, Mr. Edelman said.
“We’re an open-air grocery outlet, which is probably a safer alternative than most grocery stores that are indoors with long lines and lots of people,” he said.
A few farms have elected not to attend today’s market, though with rain in the forecast for the next days Mr. Edelman expected there may be lower participation than normal due to the combination of wet weather and health precautions.
“Protecting public health is paramount and we all need to take numerous additional precautions during this time to prevent the spread of infection,” read a message posted to the Farmers Market website. “Some of this protocol includes; staying home if you’re sick, washing hands regularly, only touching what you intend to buy, bringing your own bags, social spacing, and covering your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze and then washing hands thoroughly.
“At this time, our farmers’ markets should really be treated solely as a grocery outlet, and not a social gathering space, to ensure an efficient flow in and out of the marketplace. It can’t be overstate enough the importance of regular and thorough hand washing practices. Our farmers, and their employees, will be taking several preventative measures as well. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in continuing to make our farm-direct grocery outlet a safe and healthy environment.”
The nonprofit currently operates markets six days a week throughout the South Coast.
For more information, visit www.sbfarmersmarket.org.