DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Five Rivers MetroParks’ 2nd Street Market said Thursday it will reopen the outdoor areas on a much smaller scale Saturday, May 30, so the public can buy fresh produce, meat and dairy from local farmers. The Market is located at 600 E. Second St. in downtown Dayton.
Until further notice, according to Five Rivers MetroParks , the Market will be open only on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. Shopping from 10 to 10:30 a.m. is reserved for vulnerable populations — those who have compromised immune systems and/or are age 65 and older.
Five Rivers MetroParks said shoppers will need to plan ahead, as a number of precautions will be in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The outdoor-only Market can accommodate a limited number of vendors and most vendors will be set up outdoors on the south side of the Market building. One dairy and one meat vendor will be set up outdoors on the northwest side of the building. The Market’s prepared food and artisan vendors have not yet reopened.
All shoppers must enter at the east end of the Market’s south parking lot and exit at the west end. A limited number of people will be allowed inside the shopping area at a time, so visitors may have to wait in line while maintaining social distancing and wearing face coverings before they can shop. Signage and volunteers will help guide shoppers.
The limited hours and other changes have been made to protect the health and safety of Market shoppers, vendors, staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Shoppers are asked to review an online Shoppers’ Oath before visiting the Market, which asks them to do such things as stay home if they’re sick or have been in contact with someone who’s sick. Other precautions and changes mean visitors should expect a shopping experience that’s very different from that of previous summers at the Market:
- Social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained at all times
- Shoppers are asked to purchase their items and move along so that others may do the same, as well as to prepare a list to expedite shopping
- Shoppers are asked to designate one person per household to visit the Market
- Shoppers will not be allowed to touch products, but instead must ask vendors for what they’d like to buy
- Shoppers cannot use their own bags
- Dogs are not permitted other than service animals
- Restrooms and water fountains are not available, and shoppers will not have access to the interior of the Market building
In addition, all shoppers will be required to wear face coverings that cover their mouth and nose to protect the health and safety of the Market’s staff, vendors and volunteers, as well as their own health and safety. A vendor will be located at the entrance selling face coverings. Exceptions will be made only for those who cannot wear a face-covering due to health conditions.
Those who would like to shop from local farmers but would prefer to do so online can access links to Market vendors’ websites and social media pages at metroparks.org/localfood.
Even with the necessary precautions, Five Rivers MetroParks said it felt it was important to reopen the Market in the largest capacity possible at this time to give the community access to fresh, local food — especially as more people are protecting their health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While MetroParks is asking visitors to change how they shop, what hasn’t changed is the ever-growing need to provide equitable access to fresh, local produce,” 2nd Street Market Manager Lynda Suda said. “The Market is one of only a few locations where people can shop for fresh food in the downtown area. With areas identified as food deserts just a short distance away, we have to take food equity and accessibility very seriously.”
Many 2nd Street Market vendors offer EBT/SNAP benefits and Produce Perks matching benefits — which still will be available to customers. Tokens are available from Homefull’s EBT/SNAP Exchange, temporarily located near the entrance of the outdoor market, to shop at participating Market vendors. These benefits are offered thanks to a partnership between Five Rivers MetroParks and Homefull.