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Kingsport Farmers Market to open next week

Matthew Lane • May 19, 2020 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Farmers Market plans to reopen next week, but in order to keep vendors and market patrons as safe as possible, some changes are having to be made.

The market will begin its 2020 season on Saturday, May 23, and will be open on Saturdays only until June 3, when Wednesday's market will begin.

At the direction of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, the facility will implement new protocols for guests and vendors alike, said Kristie Leonard, market manager and special events coordinator for Kingsport.

“We’re excited to get the season underway, but for us to be able to open and continue to operate this season, this won’t be our market as usual,” Leonard said.

The most obvious change, Leonard said, will be in how you enter and exit the market. There will now be designated, clearly marked entry and exit points, as well as signage inside the market to help visitors navigate the new vendor layout.

To create adequate space between vendors, parking has been modified and overflow parking is available in the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce lot, Leonard said.

Though not required, the CDC and local health department recommend that people wear masks when visiting public places like the market.

All market programs, including Saturdays with the Chef, Evening with the Market and the Homegrown Gardening series, have been suspended until further notice, Leonard said. Anyone who needs to redeem SNAP benefits may do so at the market kiosk.

“I think at this point everyone expects a different layout or protocols, whether it’s retail, restaurants, parks, etc. We want everyone (vendors and customers alike) to feel safe visiting our market,” Leonard said. “Our vendor and customer feedback has been very positive and everyone is ready for the market to open.”

MARKET GUESTS – BE PREPARED

- If you feel sick or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home.

- Be alert and follow all posted signage in the market.

- Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and others.

- Be prepared to shop quickly and efficiently.

- Only touch produce you intend to purchase.

- Please bring small bills or exact change to limit cash transactions.

- You may bring reusable bags, but please do not pass to vendors to fill.

- Do not eat on site — take all foods to go.

- Wash all produce when you arrive home.

- Do not go behind a vendor table.

- Leave your furry friends at home. Only service animals will be allowed at this time.

- Wash and sanitize your hands often.

For more information visit kingsportfarmersmarket.org.

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