As Virginia prepares to reopen, the Vienna Farmers Market has an official opening date in June.
Unlike nearby farmers markets that are run by the county, the Vienna Farmers Market is managed by volunteers from a local nonprofit — the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna.
In pre-COVID-19 times, the farmers market would have opened May 2, Michele Wright with the Optimist Club told Tysons Reporter. But Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders telling people to stay home until June 10 and closing down non-essential businesses caused the group to delay the opening.
“In order to open it, we are following the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s guidelines,” Wright said, adding that volunteers and vendors will have face shields, face masks and gloves.
So far, the plan is to have one entrance and one exit and to allow no more than 30 people at a time, she said, adding that vendors’ tents will be 10 feet apart.
“Everyone has to wear a face mask,” she said. “I don’t care whether they believe in it or not.” If people make a fuss about the masks, she said she won’t shy away from calling the police.
Shoppers can expect hand sanitizer, but won’t be able to pick up and feel vegetables or touch the goods. Wright said it will instead be “point and bag.”
Credit cards will be preferred to limit contact. “Cash is a conveyor of germs,” Wright said.
The money raised from the vendors’ fees goes toward community events, Second Story and scholarship funds, Wright said: “Everything is really designed to bring out the best in kids.”
To help vendors who have struggled without the farmers market, Wright said the Optimist Club is connecting them with food banks.
A drive-thru model won’t work for the farmers market since there is limited space at the Vienna Community Center and police would be needed.
The market will be open starting Saturday, June 13, and will be available every week through Halloween, Wright said.
“We need people to be patient and kind and be a community,” Wright said.
Photo via Optimist Club of Greater Vienna/Facebook