WATERTOWN — The Greater Watertown-North Country Farm & Craft Market also will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic when it opens for the 44th season on Wednesday May 27.
Farmers markets have been deemed essential, according to the state’s guidelines for social distancing and gathering rules caused by the coronavirus.
But market-goers and vendors alike will be required to follow social distance rules that are being put into place.
“We can have the farmers market, but we’re asking our vendors and customers to be responsible and safe,” chamber president and CEO Kylie Peck said.
Only food-related and produce vendors will be allowed to participate this year.
So far, craft vendors are not part of the state guidelines for farmers markets across the state. She hopes that they might be added later. Food trucks are in, while music and entertainment will not be this year.
While there are many changes this year, the farmers market will again be set up along a section of Washington Street and around the corner on Clinton Street.
As of now, 23 food vendors, including food trucks, can be part of the farmers market, Mrs. Peck said. The weekly event normally has 70 vendors.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to come together for farmers to provide local produce,” she said.
Vendors will be drawing six-feet social distancing markers in chalk on the sidewalk in front of their booths that customers must adhere to, she said.
The booths will be 10 feet apart and all customers and vendors must wear masks or face coverings. To control the flow of traffic of market-goers, the familiar arrows found in grocery stores these days will be used.
While wineries can have booths, there are no tastings, Mrs. Peck said. The food trucks will offer only pickups and takeouts. No seating will be available.
Only small groups of one or two people can attend together.
The chamber is following coronavirus rules set by the state’s Agricultural Markets and the Farmers Markets Federation.
The 44th annual farmers market runs from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays normally into October.
Last year, the farmers market went through a rebranding with a new logo and an updated website.
Established in 1977, it’s been billed as the longest-running and largest farmers market in the north country.