Columbus County farmers market to open for season on Saturday

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(Photo: Columbus County Farmers Market)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Columbus County Community Farmers Market will officially open for the 2020 season on Saturday, May 2.

“According to guidance from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Governor Roy Cooper’s executive orders (121 & 131), certified farmers’ markets fall under the same classification as grocery stores and are considered essential businesses allowed to be open under strict health and safety procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the market wrote in a news release.

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Traditional opening day festivities such as ribbon-cutting, flag raising ceremony, and entertainment have been omitted due to Coronavirus mitigation efforts.

“The 2020 opening day will be the most unique in our markets history due to
Coronavirus,” Lindy Harold Shuman, president and chair of the market’s
board of directors, said.

The farmer market’s board of directors announced the following extra precautions:

  • Spacing between vendors will be increased to the maximum extent
    possible to allow customers to spread out.
  • Customers are asked to maintain a space of at least six feet between
    themselves and another person. Only one person at a time is allowed at a
    vendor’s space.
  • Vendors are encouraged to wear gloves and hand-sanitize after
    handling money and before handling additional product.
  •  Customers are encouraged to pre-order and pre-pay for items in order
    to reduce time spent at the market and cut down on money handling. The
    market is exploring the creation of an online store where customers can
    place and pre-pay for orders. In addition, some vendors are creating their
    own online stores. More details are available on the farmers market website
    at www.columbuscountyfarmersmarket.com
  •  Customers are not allowed to touch items for sale, but must ask for
    or point to items wising to purchase. Vendors are also encouraged to
    prepackage items in new clear bags so the product is visible.
  •  All product sampling is prohibited.
  • Vendors and customers are encouraged to wear face coverings/masks,
    if available.
  • The market will continue to have hand sanitizing stations available
    and vendors are encouraged to offer hand sanitizer as well.
  • The market will enhance hygiene and cleaning protocols in common and
    high-touch areas.
  • The market manager has clearly communicated these procedures to all
    current vendors prior to opening day and signage at the market will alert
    customers to these protocols.

“We look forward to seeing all our loyal customers again for the new
season,” Market manager Susie Rockel said. “We just need to keep our
social interactions to a minimum for everybody’s health and safety.”

The Columbus County Farmers Community Market is located at 132 Government
Complex Road in Whiteville, near the Department of Social Services.

Hours of operation are Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.