Jersey City is cautiously reopening its popular neighborhood farmers markets as the latest step toward carefully reopening the city after nearly two months of lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency.
“Our farmers markets are a vital source of nutritious food for many of our residents, and is one of the safest ways for people to get food and support our local economy,” Mayor Steven Fulop said. “These are some of the small, but discernible steps toward approaching a sense of safe normalcy while we still adhere to all the recommended public safeguards to halt the spread of the Coronavirus.”
The farmers markets’ open-air distributors of fresh produce and goods are monitored and licensed by the city’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Every year, eight markets provide fresh produce and locally grown products to residents in every corner of the city.
The Paulus Hook market was scheduled to be the first to open on May 9, followed by the Grove Street market on May 11, with additional sites to follow.
Each market will be mandated to abide by social-distancing protocols.
Health and safety measures will be in place
Customers will not be allowed to pick their own produce, but can give their verbal shopping list to market staff to pick out or use the market’s pre-order service for easier pickup.
The city will offer each farmers market the tools to manage costs, provide sanitation stations, and supply clean food for people in need.
“We’re working with the farmers and our neighborhood organizations to be able to open the farmers market as we do every year, which is a tactic we’ve expanded in recent years to enhance healthy food access that is traditionally lacking in urban settings,” said Director of Health and Human Services Stacey Flanagan. “We’re making sure we are putting in place the health and safety measures needed as we slowly reopen these critical parts of our city.”
To provide healthy food choices in a health-conscious setting, city officials are discouraging more than one shopper per household as well as prepared foods and music to allow for swift shopping with a focus on the essentials.
Marketers are required to wear face coverings and gloves while staying six feet apart.
Reopening the markets comes just one week after the city reopened five parks citywide where social-distancing measures are mandated and only non-contact, passive recreation is permitted.
This week the city will open Columbia Park, Mary Benson Park, Arlington Park, and Ercel Webb Park.
“We’re taking the reopening of our city step by step,” Fulop said. “We started with the parks, and now the farmers markets – both of which are vital resources to allow our residents to maintain their mental and physical health throughout this quarantine. We’ll continue to work toward a full recovery in a cautious and thoughtful manner to ensure that the health and safety of our community is embedded in every decision.”