All vendors, customers and volunteers at the Saturday market will be required to wear masks (in accordance with a new city law). Booths will be spaced farther apart to allow for social distancing and a path will be marked through the market to guide customers. There will be no music or entertainment, no food samples and prepared foods can't be eaten on site. If the market gets too crowded, staff will ask customers to wait outside of the market on sidewalks until enough people leave to allow for social distancing.
"While the new normal will be very different, we're very excited to re-open and continue our 2020 season," said Bob McDiarmid, president of the volunteer-run farmers market.
The Downtown Palo Alto Farmers' Market will reopen on Saturday, May 30. Photo by Veronica Weber.
The downtown Palo Alto market closed in March as farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, considered essential food sources that are permitted to remain open, scrambled to adjust to new public health mandates. At many farmers markets now, vendors take customers' orders and give them their produce to avoid people touching food, and hand sanitizer and social distancing markers are the norm.
Of the 14 volunteers who help manage the downtown Palo Alto market, half are considered high risk for the coronavirus, McDiarmid said. It was untenable to run the market with so few people, so they "spent time talking to friends and family to beef up our volunteer ranks."
Once the May 7 shelter-in-place order was extended, they started planning for a reopening.
The Portola Valley Farmers' Market also temporarily closed in March but soon reopened as a drive-through market with online ordering.
The Los Altos Farmers' Market, which runs on Thursdays from May through September, also recently opened for the season and is requiring masks, along with other safety measures.
The Downtown Palo Alto Farmers' Market, which last year became a year-round market, will continue to operate Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Gilman Street between Forest and Hamilton avenues through December, unless the county mandates otherwise.