On May 30, Auburn’s City Market, a gathering of local vendors and customers, got back into full swing after being delayed by concerns over the coronavirus.
Sarah Cook, aquatics and special events coordinator for the city of Auburn, spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on the market.
“Originally, we had planned to open on May 16th,” said Cook. “But obviously that had to be pushed back. Along with that, we have had to implement more guidelines for our vendors and customers for the safety of everyone.”
Some of the new restrictions for vendors include no food samples, a 10-foot space between vendor tents, gloves, recommended masks, and prepackaged products.
One of City Market's regular vendors is Hornsby Farms, run by Beth Hornsby. For her, the delay in the market’s opening certainly did not help business, but she mentioned that the city market crew helped Hornsby Farms maintain its business even without attending a market.
Hornsby added that one of the most important aspects of the market is the sense of community between the vendors and consumers.
“City Market is such a great thing to get (consumers) out and connected with the growers,” she said.
For Hornsby, the ability to have a connection to the people who will be consuming her food is special, and is one of the reasons she enjoys the market.
With the new precautions, the market will not get to be as social as in the past, but Hornsby said that the restrictions shouldn’t have a huge impact on their food service.
"The good thing is that the food industry is already prepared for this, so we shouldn’t have too many issues when it comes to the new procedures," she said.
Hornsby also mentioned that the community of Auburn has been one of the driving factors that has kept her and Hornsby Farms going through these uncertain times.
“We are really lucky to live in Auburn because there is a sense of community here," she said. "It’s an ever-changing situation but we are all going to make the best of it. It is better to be safe than sorry.”
While the vendors may be under restrictions, many are happy to be out and in business once again. However, Cook warned that customers need to keep in mind their own rules, such as no loitering, no pets and to keep aware of social distancing.
With less space for vendors and more logistics to navigate, more stress has been placed on the leadership, but to people like Cook, the hurdles are worth it to be able to have the market open and operating once again.
“There have been some challenges but we have been able to overcome them,” Cook said.
The City Market is open every Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. until August 29, except for July 4, at Town Creek Park on South Gay Street.