FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2020
Contact: Lisa Thurber
Director of Communications
Fayetteville Farmers’ Market on the Downtown Square Gardens Postponed to Prevent COVID-19 Community Spread
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — City of Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced today that the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market at the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens will be postponed until at least April 25, 2020. This date is subject to change based on new information about community spread of COVID-19 and public health risks. The Farmers’ Market, which normally operates three days a week from April to November on the Downtown Square, was originally scheduled to hold its opening day on Saturday, April 4.
Mayor Jordan stated: “I have attended the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market since 1973, and I always look forward to spending Saturdays on the Square with all of you. But I can’t do that at this time. The Farmers’ Market draws a sizeable crowd of people from all age groups, who come into close contact with each other for hours at a time – and those are all things we must avoid to slow community spread of this COVID-19 pandemic. I am committed to finding ways that residents can secure safe access to healthy local foods.”
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise that large events and gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, ADH has issued directives limiting indoor and some outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people. It continues to recommend limiting person-to-person contact and keeping six feet from others when visiting public places, particularly those where vulnerable populations may be present.
Postponing the Farmers’ Market on the Downtown Square aligns with Mayor Jordan’s new policies enacted under Ordinance 6292 to protect and preserve the health and safety of Fayetteville residents and visitors. The Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens is a city-owned park property, and the decision to postpone the Market’s annual opening at this location echoes previous decisions to postpone other events held on city property and to close city park amenities where social distancing is not being observed or cannot be easily achieved.
Road closures around the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens normally associated with the Farmers’ Market have been temporarily lifted. Visitors are urged to watch for moving vehicles and use caution when visiting the Square or crossing nearby streets. While the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens remains open to the public at this time, social distancing and limitations on group size will continue to be enforced by the Fayetteville Police Department. Distancing and group size limitations apply to all groups on or around this location, regardless of their affiliation with the Farmers’ Market.
Mayor Jordan and the City’s Parks and Recreation Division remind residents and visitors using all city parks and trails to maintain six feet between themselves and others and to limit group size to no more than 10 people.
City officials have been working with Farmers’ Market organizers to find a safe way for farmers to sell their products and for customers to buy those products during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Market will continue operations on Saturdays only at the Winter Market location at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center in the parking lot, 1330 N College Ave. Times of operation will be Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for Seniors only, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all customers. Vendors will set up outside with spacing to accommodate social distancing, and hand-washing stations will be available. Vendors are limiting selections to farm products and items listed as essentials. At this time, Tuesday and Thursday markets are on hold.
The market has also implemented an online ordering process with online payment and easy pickup, limiting exposure. Farmers’ Market organizers encourage customers to use online ordering to limit the number of people at market. Online orders open on Tuesday at noon and close on Thursday at 9 p.m. Orders can picked up at market in a separate location in the parking lot from 10 a.m.to 1 p.m. Online orders can be place at https://fayettevillearkansas.locallygrown.net/market.
More details about the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market operations are available on the organization’s social media pages and at www.fayettevillefarmersmarket.org
Please check the City’s www.fayetteville-ar.gov/covid19 webpage and sub-webpages to keep up-to-date on announcements and information for Fayetteville residents and businesses.