Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market to Re-Open on May 12Apr 30, 2020 12:57PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
A plan for a limited re-opening of the Manhattan Beach Farmers Market won approval from the Manhattan Beach City Council on Wednesday. The market is now set to re-open on Tuesday, May 12.
The plan had hit a snag when it went before City Council on Monday over the issue of staffing for the market, but supporters resolved that issue with a plan to organize volunteer staffing.
The re-opening plan was approved, 5-0.
"We are grateful to the city of Manhattan Beach and City Council for partnering with us to make this possible," said Jill Lamkin, executive director of the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association, which sponsors the market.
In preparing for a limited re-opening, the downtown business association had laid out a detailed plan that was crafted in consultation with other local farmers' markets.
The "Phase 1" plan would include reducing the market from its current 50+ vendors down to just "farmers and fish," or only 50 to 60 percent of the market's current vendors.
Additionally, the market would operate only on 13th Street, with no center aisle of stands; cloth face coverings would be required for entry; and the market would only be open for four hours (operating from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
"In the interest of public safety, the plan exceeds the strict requirements of the LA County Health Department’s COVID-19 Task Force," noted Lamkin. "During Phase One of reopening, we will focus on our local farmers and a fish provider, with a slow and careful approach to bringing back vendors as we feel is appropriate. We appreciate the public’s patience with our interim market, but truly look forward to supporting our community again with locally sourced, fresh foods provided in an outdoor marketplace."
Limited Operations and Restrictions
The specific restrictions included in "Phase One" would include:
- Suspending all gathering places, special programming, kids' activities, live music, and community seating.
- Closing off the market with a clear entrance and exit to control the total number of shoppers allowed in at any one time, not to exceed 2.5 shoppers per vendor.
- Closing off all vendor spaces with barricade tape for "request only" so that only the vendor could touch the produce or food item.
- Complying with the L.A. County Health Department's food handling protocols, including no open cooking, no food sampling, only prepacked items available prepared in a commercial kitchen with additional safety protocols in place; and requiring vendors to bring their hand-washing stations and switch out gloves on a regular basis.
- Requiring cloth face coverings for vendors, along with emphasizing best practices (stay home if sick, maintain distance behind tables, wash hands regularly, etc).
- Posting signage to support guidelines and restrictions (reminders to wear face coverings, select shorter lines first, observe social distancing, refrain from touching food, shop within 30 minutes, and use restrooms for hand washing as needed.)
To make the market run smoothly, the market needs volunteer staff members. The volunteers need to show up with face covering and gloves, and be prepared to work in three-hour shifts.
Volunteers are being coordinated by Betsey Keely. To sign up to volunteer, click here. (Adults only, please; no teen volunteers are being used at this time.)
Currently, a number of certified farmers’ markets continue operations under the heightened L.A. County Department of Public Health COVID-19 protocols, including Santa Monica, Torrance, Culver City and approximately 30 others throughout Los Angeles County.
Manhattan Beach is unique in that its farmers' market is sponsored by the downtown business association, rather than the city.