Omaha Farmers Market returns with some fresh-food favorites – along with new restrictions

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Ashly Willis 
CONTRIBUTOR

The Farmers Market is officially open on weekends, now with new COVID guidelines. Photo courtesy of Omaha Farmers Market.

The Omaha Farmers Market opened this past weekend under health and safety precautions given by the Douglas County Health Department

“Health and safety are our top priorities,” said Vic Gutman, Omaha Farmers Market Executive Director, in a press release. “We truly appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we make adjustments to increase safety.” 

The Omaha Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m to 12:30 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m this year.

Market changes include seniors, those with underlying health conditions and expecting mothers are all recommended to shop at the Old Market location from 9 a.m. to 10 am, as it is less crowded and allows vendors to organize separate entrances for seniors and other vulnerable populations during the first hour. 

The event will be utilizing Baxter Arena at 2425 S. 67th Street in Lot 26 instead of the usual space in the Aksarben Village. It will also be just across from its usual location in the Old Market at 10th and Jackson, which will enhance the parking space and traffic flow of shoppers. 

At either location, to prevent overcrowding all shoppers will only be able to use one entrance with wait times between 5 to 9 minutes during popular peak times. This change is different than in previous years, but it is to improve the safety of all shoppers, said Kylie Vonnahme, media contact for Vic Gutman & Associates

All shoppers will also be told to stay six-feet from each other at all times and are encouraged to wear masks. People are discouraged from using reusable bags due to possible contamination as well as other recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

While COVID-19 restrictions have been put in place, many shoppers might notice that dog water bowl stations have now been replaced with sanitizing stations. Although the market has been a hot spot for pooches in the past to get in their fix of playtime in the sun, Vonnahme highly advises it would be best if pooches were left at home.

“Bringing your pet is just going to be another distraction – so we ask everyone to please leave your pets at home,” Vonnahme said.

Vonnahme strongly encourages this rule and will strictly enforce it unless the pet is a service animal in which case those animals will be allowed at the event in both locations.

If shoppers believe they are sick they must stay home, and are encouraged not to touch or taste any market samples due to high-risk contamination as cited by a recent press release, but if they are still wanting to participate in the event in some other way some vendors are offering online purchasing options through their Facebook pages. To see which vendors are participating visit the Vendor’s Listing page on the Omaha Farmers Market webpage.

“Vendors will be discouraged from selling crafts and instead only sell fresh produce, and pre-packaged foods,” Vonnahme said in an interview with KETV Newswatch 7. “I hope that this restriction is lifted later on in the season.” 

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