City working with Farmers Market on COVID-19 practices as it plans to open Saturday

The city is working with the Winona Farmers Market on COVID-19 safety and physical distancing practices as the market prepares to open for the outdoor season this Saturday in Levee Park.

Minnesota has declared farmers markets as essential businesses to remain open during StayHomeMN. The market has developed a plan to keep vendors and customers safe and physically distant. City staff helped with the plan and will monitor the market’s operations to offer assistance.

“The ability to open Winona’s market is a credit to the market operators, who worked hard to develop a safe way to continue hosting the market at Levee Park,” said city manager Steve Sarvi. 

The market will be open usual hours, from 7:30 am to 12 pm. Customers are asked to enter through two controlled entrances, at Second Street and the movie theater parking lot, and may be asked to wait to enter. The market will attempt to limit numbers inside the market to 60 at any given time. Customers must stay physically distant while moving and in line.

Vendors will be spaced at least six feet apart, be asked to wear masks at all times, and will handle and bag all products. Customers are allowed to bring reusable bags, but cannot hand bags to vendors — vendors will use their own bags for products and hand them to customers.

Vendors will not be allowed to offer any samples, and customers are prohibited from consuming any food while inside the market. Takeout food and beverages will be allowed.

The market will have handwashing stations set up and plans to have sanitizer and disinfectant available. The EBT machine for SNAP and credit/debit cards will be available. The market will not have any activities at this time, including live music, education, or other events. 

Any vendors or customers with COVID-19 symptoms are urged to stay home. 

The Winona Fire Department, which has been working with local businesses and organizations on preparedness and safety practices, plans to be present at the market this Saturday to provide guidance and support.

For more information, folks can reach out directly to the Winona Farmers Market through their website, winonafarmersmarket.com, or Facebook page.

Folks can also read this note from the Farmers Market to vendors with additional information and instructions.