PERKASIE — In a coronavirus world, the Perkasie Farmer's Market is starting with the “essentials.”
That means the initial vendors will be farmers, food producers and those with products such as soap or handmade face masks.
Some of the other things from previous years, including musical performers, crafts and seating areas for a Saturday morning breakfast or munching on some of the goodies won't be there, at least in the beginning.
“At this time, we're not encouraging people to gather or linger at the market,” said Linda Reid, the market manager and Perkasie's community development manager.
“In years past, the markets have always been a social gathering for our community and we certainly hope we will return to that soon,” she said in a telephone interview, “but for now, we're not employing the practices that encourage people to just hang out for the whole morning.”
This year's Perkasie Farmer's Market runs 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays June 6 through Oct. 31.
“Market vendors will be expected to follow a series of precautions, including sanitizing hands and hard surfaces between customers, wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and providing as many touchless payment systems as possible,” a release about the market said.
Once again, the market will be on South 7th Street, but this year the lay-out will be a little different, with the booths on only one side of the street and stretched out between Market and Walnut streets, Reid said.
“There will be at least 10 feet between vendors,” she said.
Information on the borough's website lists how to pre-order from and pre-pay the market vendors.
“There are some markets in the state that only allow you to pre-order and pre-pay and then you just have to drive through and pick it up,” Reid said.
The Perkasie market doesn't make it a requirement, but it is preferred if customers do that, she said.
“It means they can come in earlier — hopefully the market would be quieter at that time — they can move through more quickly and more safely,” she said. “It lessens the amount of contact.”
From 9 to 9:45 a.m. will be reserved for shopping by senior citizens, people with underlying health conditions and people who have pre-ordered.
For all others, the borough website lists shopping times based on the first letter of the customers' surname.
While that's been recommended as a good practice, Perkasie isn't insisting that people only shop in the period based on their name, Reid said.
“What you're doing is helping us spread the traffic over the three hours of the market, so if everybody comes at 10:30 like they used to, if there's a sudden surge, its more difficult for us to hold the market safely, whereas if people would spread their visits, it will help us with social distancing and safety and that's really the only reason for that request,” she said. “If you can't, of course we understand.”
Guidelines for the market are based on the state guidelines.
The release lists the following guidelines:
• Please wear a mask or face covering while you are at the market
• If you are able, please send just one person from your household to shop at the market
• Please respect the first 45 minutes of the market as a time for seniors and those with underlying conditions to shop. Customers may also arrive during this time for no contact pickup of prepaid orders
• Be conscious of your surroundings and try to stay 6 feet away from others at all times, including when you stand in line
• No pets (service animals are welcome)
• The market will have hand sanitizer at stations throughout the market. If you can, bring your own sanitizer to use between vendors
• Many vendors accept payment using Venmo or PayPal, consider using these apps for a no-contact credit payment. If you prefer cash, please bring small bills and try to pay in the exact amount for your purchases
• Please do not attempt to touch produce or other products before you buy. Vendors will bag your selections or pass them to you after purchase so you can bag your own
• Vendors are not offering samples. Please take everything you purchased home to eat and do not eat it at the market
“We recognize that the market, certainly at the beginning of the season, will look and feel quite different to how it has in the past,” Reid said in the release, “but the safety of customers, vendors and everyone involved with the market has to be our top priority. We are hoping that we will be able to safely reintroduce music, crafts and community activities later in the season. We are asking that all visitors support our efforts by following our new safety guidelines.”
Additional information is available at www.perkasieborough.org or the market's Facebook page.