April 30, 2021
By Sheila Julson
The celebrated South Shore Farmers Market (SSFM) has become a community mainstay since it began in 1998. It’s one of the events that defines Bay View.
For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the SSFM committee to implement safety protocols. Many pandemic safety guidelines that were in place last year will be reinstituted this year, with one exception. This season, patrons’ canine companions will be welcomed back to the market—with certain restrictions.
There is a tendency for people to cluster around dogs, which can create bottlenecks that thwart other patrons’ movement from vendor to vendor. For safety’s sake, the committee prohibited dogs from entering the market in the 2020 season. SSFM committee member Mary Beth Driscoll said that while there was almost 100 percent compliance with COVID-19 safety restrictions by marketgoers last year, the prohibition of dogs was a sticking point.
For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the SSFM committee to implement safety protocols. Many pandemic safety guidelines that were in place last year will be reinstituted this year, with one exception. This season, patrons’ canine companions will be welcomed back to the market—with certain restrictions
This season dogs will be permitted, but they must be on a short leash. No retractable leashes will be permitted. Committee volunteers will monitor patrons with dogs to ensure they do not create congestion.
All vendors will again be located around the north perimeter of South Shore Park to allow for social distancing. But unlike last year where customers were directed in a one-way traffic pattern, two-way foot traffic will be allowed this year. Physical distancing and face masks will again be required.
That placement of vendors might become a permanent feature. “We found that it’s really popular with people. They liked the fact that it was more spread out,” Driscoll said.
There will be a barrier table placed in front of each vendor’s booth to safely distance their products and themselves from patrons. Vendors may display their offerings, but to ensure sanitary conditions, customers cannot pick them up to inspect. Vendors will assist with selection, purchase, and bagging.
There will be boxes on the barrier tables for customers to place their money or credit/debit cards, allowing for contactless purchases. “Even while trying to be careful, it’s sometimes easy to forget and accidentally get close to someone,” Driscoll noted.
Vendors will be prohibited from offering samples. All purchases of prepared food must be taken home and not consumed on site.
A change that marks a return to prepandemic times is the return of a nonprofit organization’s table, but this season it will be limited to one table for a single nonprofit organization.
A Bay View-based nonprofit will be permitted to set up a table next to the community tent at each market to distribute information about itself and its activities. Groups that want to participate or who want more information should call Brigid Globensky, 414-489-9910, and leave a message. Because the table is solely for sharing information, nonprofit participants cannot sell anything.