CHARLOTTE – Vendors and employees at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market practiced extensive safety measures March 14 as more cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg County were confirmed.
Farmers market representatives announced via Facebook on March 13 that it would remain open at this time until further notice.
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“The safety of our employees, vendors and market shoppers is our top priority,” the Facebook post read. “We recognize that this is a constantly changing and evolving situation, and we will adjust based on recommendations from the CDC and health departments.”
Cashiers at Fat Boy’s Produce wore masks and gloves to help prevent the spread of the virus, which is just one of the precautions Chris Kiker took during this time of uncertainty.
Kiker said he repainted his tables, sanitized everything, washed the floors around his station and instructed cashiers and helpers to wash and sanitize their hands as often as possible.
Aaron Moua has worked for another produce vendor at the farmers market for six years. He said though he has always taken precautions surrounding the food, he is more aware of them now.
“We’ve got a whole rule guideline of what to do right now and we’re just being aware, but we’re still open,” Moua said. “It’s still busy. People still need to eat. People still need to shop for food.”
In addition to personal precautions, the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market management gave vendors two handouts Saturday morning. One outlined the CDC’s guidelines for coronavirus prevention, while the other was from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and answered frequently asked questions about the market.
“Market staff has started a rigorous sanitation schedule of the facility, including bathrooms, doors, soda machines, water fountain and ATM machine,” management wrote in the handout. “We continue to monitor developments closely, as this is an evolving situation.”
Though a cleaning regimen began at the farmers market, the handout also informed vendors that though some grocery stores suspended the sampling of products, the market would not do so at this time.
The market urged vendors to stay home if they are feeling sick. They also requested that if a vendor or employee tests positive for COVID-19, they are informed of it.
While all of this change happens, Kiker said it is still important to support local farmers for a variety of reasons.
“We have it and the grocery store does not, they’re out,” Kiker said. “People are panicking. Our stuff is fresh and local. And it’s here.”
Want to go? The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is lcoated at 1801 Yorkmont Road.
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