Overcrowded farmers markets caught the attention of city officials this past weekend.
Another city favorite has been added to the list of closures, joining public beaches, hiking trails, and a number of parks and recreations across town. Mayor Eric Garcetti held a news conference on Monday evening where he announced that L.A. Farmers Markets will shut down until further notice in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“This past weekend, some of our farmers markets became much too crowded,” said the Mayor. “As much as we love them, we just cannot take any chances with this virus. I don’t want to have the closing of the farmers markets to result in even bigger crowds at our grocery stores. I’m going to require that all farmers markets submit plans immediately to our city’s Bureau of Street Services that enforce physical distancing and ensure safe operations — one entrance, one exit. We want people to be able to eat well and get access to food, but we don’t want to risk the spread of this disease.”
Though many of us may have assumed our local farmers markets would have been canceled due to the county’s current shelter-at-home order, the gatherings were deemed an essential service since they provide food to residents. But after a weekend filled with people trying to kill two birds with one stone — some much needed outdoor time and grocery shopping — the city decided that briefly suspending markets would ensure that locals could properly practice social distancing measures.
“We want people to be able to eat well and we want people to be able to get access to food,” Garcetti said, “but we can’t risk the spread of this disease.”
Luckily, this won’t necessarily be the end to farmers markets while the city is under quarantine. Markets can request to reopen by submitting a detailed plan of safety measures and social distancing guidelines to the Bureau of Street Services.
As of right now, markets in Pasadena, Culver City, Torrence, and Santa Monica will remain open since safety and distancing plans were set into stone weeks ago. For example, Santa Monica Farmers Market shoppers are now greeted by workers who ensure guests are up-to-date with the new measures which include following chalked arrows that have been measured out to six feet and “you touch, you buy” rules surrounding fresh produce.
Featured photo: @yuki_bean
Also published on Medium.