Masking up at the farmers market

Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market asks shoppers to wear masks
Published: Jul. 11, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - This year's Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market offers the same sights, smells and sounds as previous years.

However, you might have noticed a few new changes to this years market. Market organizers hope these changes can help limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Market board member Mary C. Anderson says for the most part, people are responding positively to the change.

If you've been to the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market this season, you might have noticed some new changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you've been to the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market this season, you might have noticed some new changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.(WEAU)

“We’ve got one-way traffic, we’re enforcing it to the best of our ability and most of the customers have been very respectful. Not visiting too long, buying their things and moving on, trying to keep social distance,” Anderson says. “On average, I would say about 80% or 85% of clients that come through market are doing some type of self-protection.”

Some vendors, like Pasia of Eau Claire, say they were at the market Saturday, helping family after a slow-down in other businesses.

“Today we actually had time to come hang out with my mom and help her out with the farmers market,” she says.

After requiring all vendors to wear face masks, market manager Diedra Barrickman says they are now urging all customers to wear one while shopping. Barrickman says they have given out close to 700 masks so far this season, a sign that many customers are willing to adhere to the new guidelines. But some customers, like Bob Rykal of Chetek, say he would like to see more people embracing the new rules.

“I’d like to see more people wearing mask than they are. I think the masks are all about protecting you rather than somebody else and I think people aren’t necessarily thinking that ways,” Rykal says. “They think their freedom is being breached by having to wear a mask and i don’t agree with that totally.”

“It was mandatory for our vendors to wear them and we ask, strongly recommend our customers wear them too,” Barrickman says. “We wish everyone would wear them all the time.”

“The market has been very well received,” Anderson says. “It hasn’t been perfect, but we are trying very very hard to keep not only the vendors, but all of our fantastic customers safe as they come through the market.”

Though this year is different vendors and customers are thankful the market can continue.

“We appreciate what all these farmers are doing for us locally,” Rykal says. “We generally come down here every Saturday when we can.”

“It is slower than it has been in previous years but we are thankful for what we have and thankful to hold a farmers market this year and give our local customers a place to be and a place to come and enjoy every Saturday,” Pasia says.

The Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market is open Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., and Thursday from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m.

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