Venice Farmers Market sets reopening

STAFF REPORT from Englewood Sun

VENICE ? After being closed for months because of COVID-19, the Venice Farmers Market announced Tuesday it is set to reopen.

In a news release, officials deemed it a great day to celebrate the return.

The reopening is Saturday, July 11 at City Hall, 401 W. Venice Ave.

“Welcome the return of your favorite summer vendors offering amazing produce, fresh baked goods including breads, pies, bagels and pretzels, wild caught seafood, Florida grown mushrooms, boutique cheeses, locally roasted coffee, kettle corn, hand crafted soap, essential oils, nursery plants, and fresh cut flowers,” it said. “In addition, your favorite local artists will be attending the market offering award winning photography, unique clay art and jewelry, hand designed clothing for children and adults, and much more.”

Venice Farmers Market leader Lee Perron notes the staff and vendors have worked “to create a CDC compliant and safe socially distanced outdoor shopping experience for our community.”

Staff and vendors will wear masks and gloves while sanitizing stations will be available, it said, noting plans have been OK’d by Venice officials.

There will be a slight difference: While construction is underway for the city’s new fire station and City Hall renovation, the market be set up at West Venice Avenue between Harbor Avenue and Avenue des Parques.

The summer hours are from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. To help with COVID-19 rules, only service animals will be allowed, the news release states.

For more information, visit thevenicefarmersmarket.org, email: info@thevenicefarmersmarket.org or call 941-445-9202.

Dusty Thibodeau, of Dusty’s Produce, displays local organic produce at the Venice Farmers Market in September. After months closed because of COVID-19, its set to reopen again July 11.

VFM PHASE ONE OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES – FAQ’s

 

How does VFM plan to practice social distancing?

  • Vendor booths will be spaced at a minimum of 10 feet apart from one another.
  • VFM will set-up caution tape in between booths to discourage customers from walking in between booths or into traffic.
  • Booth set-up minimizes a customer’s ability to touch products (ropes, tables, cones, sneeze guards). Customers may self-select produce when wearing a mask while following the rules of social distancing, “shop with your eyes not hands”, and “take what you touch”.
  • Vendor booths will have markers on the pavement for 6 feet of social distancing for customers that walk up and are in line.
  • Vendors will have a “Pick Up Table” or use existing counter space for placing product for pick-up and receiving payment separate from product display.
  • Customers will be notified to walk directionally as vehicle traffic travels on the streets… walking along Venice Avenue west towards the water and walking Venice Avenue east towards downtown. This will keep a one-way only pedestrian flow adjacent to vendor tents. Sidewalks on both sides of the street will be open for two-way pedestrian traffic.
  • There will not be dining, seating or gathering areas within the market site.
  • VFM staff will constantly be monitoring the market site traffic and instructing customers to keep moving to avoid overcrowding.
  • When market site attendance approaches crowds that inhibit effective social distancing, VFM staff will have a click-counter tool to track and control the number of people (entering and exiting) in the market. Staff will communicate via 2-way radios as customers enter and exit.
  • VFM will place signage around the perimeter of the market between the street and sidewalks directing customers to use entrances at Harbor Avenue and Avenue des Parques only. Caution tape will be between signs to encourage pedestrian traffic flow.
  • Ask customers to please conclude shopping the market if they are shopping for an extended period (more than 30 minutes).
  • In preparation of lines forming with walk-up customers, VFM will have 6-foot pavement markers outside of both entrances of the market. VFM to display instructional signs “form lines here” and “maintain 6 feet for social distancing”.
  • Customer Code of Conduct signs posted at each entrance and within the market site.
  • Customer friendly signage displayed throughout the market as reminders.

 

Will there be handwashing/sanitizing stations?

  • Yes, Vendors are required to have their own hand sanitization station. For customers, VFM will have handwashing/sanitizing stations at each entrance to the market located at Harbor Avenue and Avenue des Parques.
  • VFM will check every 30 minutes that there is adequate soap and paper towels and/or sanitizer at all VFM handwashing/sanitization stations and refill as necessary. All hand washing/sanitization stations will meet health guidelines.  VFM will provide hand sanitizer for customers, vendors and staff at each entrance, our info booth and the exit.

 

Can I bring my dog to the market?

  • Please keep your pets at home (unless service animal).

 

What sanitation procedures are in place?

  • Staff and Vendors will clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces including tabletops, phones, keyboards, and cash register counters (at minimum every 30 minutes).

 

Will there be restrooms for the public? 

  • There will be restrooms located at the tennis courts public facilities.

 

Will vendors be practicing new safety guidelines? 

     Yes, here is a list of new procedures our vendors will follow to ensure health safety:

  • The selection of vendors will be consistent with existing Vendor Agreement, market Rules and Regulations and addendum’s previously adopted and approved by the City.
  • Except for produce, all food and bakery items will be packaged prior to customer purchase.  Non-food items will be packaged, wrapped or bagged.
  • Vendors are required to wear PPE, facemasks and gloves at all times.
  • Vendors and staff are required to self-evaluate their health status prior to coming to market. This includes not coming to work sick and/or exhibiting COVID 19 symptoms.
  • Vendors and staff are required to report if they have had contact with anyone who has tested positive with COVID 19 and to request a two-week absence to self-quarantine. 
  • Vendor booths will have markers on the pavement for 6 feet of social distancing, provided by vendors, for customers that walk up and are in line.
  • Vendors will have a “Pick Up Table” or use existing counter space to place orders for pick up.
  • Encourage the use of on-line order and prepayment, credit/debit cards and contactless payment. If cash is used, we ask that vendors round up to the nearest dollar to limit the need for change.
  • SNAP customers will place their payment tokens in separate plastic bags provided by VFM staff when making payment to vendors. VFM staff will collect the bags at the end of market. Tokens will be sanitized prior to re-issue.
  • Vendors should encourage customers to use credit/debit cards. Credit cards, clipboards, and terminals shall be sanitized after each transaction.
  • Handling money/market currency and food handling are separate (I.e.: there is one staff member handling food and another staff member that is handling money… adjoining vendors may share staff to handle money). 
  • Only the necessary staff are working
  • No sampling, no selling consume-on-premises food and no refilling reusable containers.
  • Vendors wash their hands, change their gloves and sanitize their counters, tables, and work space frequently.
  • Vendors must handle produce (except where customer is wearing a mask and follows the customer code of conduct rules) and product for shoppers.
  • All booths have a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
  • Vendors must use plastic or vinyl tables and/or coverings for easy sanitizing.
  • Vendors must wash hands after using the restroom, touching their face, sneezing, using a tissue, before and after eating, and after handling money.
  • VFM staff will perform periodic checks of all vendors’ booths each hour. Any vendor that does not follow their pre-approved set-up will be required to stop selling and immediately correct the issue.
  • During the periodic checks, if staff observes possible COVID 19 symptoms among vendors or staff, vendor and/or staff temperature will be taken with a contactless thermometer.
  • Before a vendor can sell, VFM staff will review each vendor booth for proper social distancing setup.
  • Vendors must clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces every 30 minutes, such as (but not limited to) tabletops, phones, keyboards, cash register counters, handwashing sinks, card readers; and trash cans frequently. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered products that clean (removes germs) and disinfect (kill germs) must be used.
  • For Proper Handling of Disinfectants and Waste, vendors must ensure that:
    • Chemicals are used in a well-ventilated area and not mixed with incompatible chemicals
    • No chemical contact with food during cleaning
    • Waste is disposed safely a in a secure trash container provided by the vendor

 

Customer Code of Conduct

  • STAY HOME if I am sick or if I have been in contact with someone who is sick.
  • Make a shopping list before visiting the market.
  • Pre-order and prepay vendors if possible @ www.thevenicefarmersmarket.org 
  • Designate one shopper per household.
  • Leave my pet at home unless it is a service dog.
  • Be alert! I will notice modifications and signs and adhere to them.
  • Not touch products, but instead, ask a vendor for what I would like.
  • Maintain 6 feet of space at all times. I will look for physical cues like tape, chalk, and signs to help remind me.
  • Shop quickly and efficiently – 30 minutes or less
  • Use the provided hand sanitizer and/or hand wash stations at the market.
  • Avoid touching my eyes, nose, mouth, and face in general.
  • Cover my cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of it. Then wash my hands.
  • Wear a face mask if you have one available, necessary for hand selecting produce, “shop with your eyes not your hands”, “take what you touch”
  • Be the most responsible shopper I can possibly be!
  • Take a photo of this sign as your reminder!

Venice Farmers Market to Re-Open on July 11, 2020!

We are Back!

Summer vendors will offer produce, fresh baked goods including breads, pies, bagels and pretzels, wild-caught seafood, Florida-grown mushrooms, boutique cheeses, locally roasted coffee, kettle corn, hand-crafted soap, essential oils, nursery plants and fresh-cut flowers. In addition, local artists will be attending the market offering award-winning photography, unique clay art and jewelry, hand-designed clothing for children and adults, and more.

Market staff and vendors have created a CDC-compliant and safe socially distanced outdoor shopping experience for the community, states Farmers Market Manager Lee Perron. All staff and vendors will wear masks and gloves and sanitizing stations will be available. The plan has been reviewed and approved by the City of Venice in order to comply with all federal, state and local guidelines for food and personal safety. Please visit the market website, www.thevenicefarmersmarket.org, and select the FAQ tab to read more about new operating guidelines.

During the construction of Fire Station 1 and expansion of City Hall, the market will relocate out of the parking lot but will still operate at City Hall. The Farmers Market will set up on W. Venice Avenue between Harbor Drive and Avenue des Parques, located between City Hall and the Hecksher Park tennis courts.

Summer market hours will be from 8 a.m. to noon. Only service animals will be allowed during current COVID-19 rules.

For more information, go to www.thevenicefarmersmarket.org. Contact Lee Perron via email at info@thevenicefarmersmarket.org or call 941-445-9209.