05/06/20

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Good morning all.

Much of this update may seem a repeat of last week, but there is much information that has changed. We urge you to read this letter in whole.
As I requested in the last e-mail, we need to (re)know who is going to be a reserved vendor this year (including the vendors on the wait list). If you have decided to not be a reserved vendor for this season because of the current Covid-19 circumstances, please let us know ASAP. We need to know! If you have already let me know I do have the decision recorded, so there is no need to let me know again unless the situation has changed again.

If you have a pattern to sew masks that is approved by the CDC, you are encouraged to get some masks made and set up at the Market. If you have cut flowers to sell, these products may also be sold at the Market. Both products are now allowed. We’d love to see you. Please see special rules below.

For vendors who are deemed essential and have paid a deposit or paid in full for a reserved space, we will be depositing those payments. Full payment will be due by June 1st for all essential vendors. This is only for the vendors deemed essential. For Non-Essential vendors, dependent on when we will open completely, the Board decision is we will not charge a reserved vendor for a space until the first market in June (June 6th) so long as you have already paid your deposit by April 1st. If you have changed your mind and will not be reserving, please let us know immediately. If you are an essential vendor, we will be contacting you before depositing your payment just to be certain you wish to reserve your space for the season. However, it is much less time consuming if you can please reach out and let us know your intentions for the season.

MASKS AND GLOVES ARE REQUIRED.

For the second market (05/09), we are requiring ALL vendors to wear a mask or, if you are unable to wear a mask, to erect a barrier of some sort between you and a potential customer at your booth. There are many options for barriers. At the EBT booth, we will be hanging a clear shower curtain as a barrier with a small opening for transferring tokens, checks, and EBT or credit card transactions as well as wearing a mask. Vendors are also required to wear gloves. If you do not have gloves and a mask (or barrier) of some sort, you will be turned away.

Further, we will be requiring all customers to wear a mask before entering the Market (unless a person is under the age of 2). Signs will be placed at the entrances to inform customers masks are mandatory as well as asking them to please wash their hands.

We are designating the first hour of the Market (9:00 to 10:00) be only open to Seniors. Please help us to get the word out.

We request vendors to do your best to not allow any customer to touch anything on your table. Please have them point out what they desire and allow you to bag the items for them. It would be appropriate vendors only have prepackaged items at your booth to protect all food items.

At all times, please pay attention to social distancing to keep 6 feet between you and your customer or you and a co-worker.

Any vendor who was reserved last year who has given up their space due to the Covid-19 outbreak will be able to reserve the same space in 2021 if you so desire. You will not be charged this season unless you decide to arrive at the Market as a day vendor. We will do our best not to assign your space(s) to a new reserved vendor. If we do end up using your space(s) for a new reserved vendor they will be instructed the space(s) will likely not be available to them in 2021 and they will likely be re-located.

As last week, we will be assigning spaces on a first come first served basis. To accommodate this procedure, please park in the Wells Fargo Parking lot and walk North just passed Lattes and Sundaes to the EBT booth where Mark or Kris (dressed in green with the Farmers’ Market logo) will assign you space(s) for the day. Please respect social distancing (6 feet from another person) if there is a line. If you do not currently have a reserved space, the fee will be $20.00 per ten feet of space for the day. The fee will be collected later on in the day before the market closes. If you are on the wait list to be a reserved vendor, please inform Mark or Kris so we may apply your payment appropriately as a reduction to the reserved fee if we have enough space to allow you a permanent space for the season. Kris or Mark will make collections when appropriate. For reserved vendors who have maintained a reserved space on the North block, we will do our best to place you near where patrons have been used to seeing you. However, only essential vendors will be allowed at the Market.

Essential vendors include Cottage Food vendors, Food Trucks, and vendors selling bedding plants, produce, and hygiene products, AND now masks and cut flowers. If you are not certain whether your products are deemed essential, please contact the Lewis and Clark County Heath Department – [email protected] . Please do not direct your inquiry to myself or a board member or the Market Manager or assistant Market Manager. We have all agreed to direct any questions directly to the Lewis & Clark County Health Department.

On the North block, all vehicle traffic travels North. Even if your assigned space(s) are close to Neill, DO NOT enter the market with your vehicle from Neill. If the space(s) you are assigned is/are close to Neill, you have 2 choices: drive SLOWLY all the way through the Market from Placer, or park your vehicle on Neill and tote your wares to your booth space.

To respect social distancing there will be 10 feet of space between each vendor’s assigned space(s). We will be tying some surveyors tape at the back end of the empty space between your booth and your neighbors’ booths to deter patrons from entering the market from the parks instead of the designated entrances.

Why 10 feet instead of 6 feet for social distancing? we would have to re-draw space lines each week and only after assigning space(s) which would likely change the next week (first come first served), so we will assign space(s). based upon the 10 feet of space represented by each line painted on the pavement.

We have rented 2 hand washing stations that will be placed at both entrances to the Market area. We intend to do our best to make it obvious where the entrances to the Market are located. To do so, however, will require a large number of orange cones (hopefully) blocking pedestrian traffic, so please get your vehicles off the street as quickly as possible. We have also purchased signs referencing social distancing guidelines as well as a directional request that all pedestrian traffic flow in a counterclockwise direction (If you are facing a vendor, that would be to your left. for vendors, that would be to your right). As a vendor, we request your assistance that this pedestrian traffic flows the way we would like.

We will be working on assigning reserved spaces this week to ensure everyone that had space(s) last year will have a reserved space(s) this year as well as assigning new reservations to the 26 spaces on a wait list. It’s a game of Tetris. We will be diligent in this regard.

These new rules and processes will be in effect until such time as we are able to open up completely for all vendors.

Thank you,

P.S. To keep spirits high, my neighborhood has started a tradition of howling at the moon every night at 8:00 P.M. More people contribute every night. Join us or start your own tradition. Imagine all of Helena howling at the moon at 8:00 P.M… What an amazing sound that would be.

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