Corvallis Indoor Winter Market to be open on 3-14-20

Corvallis Indoor Winter Market

PO Box 2243, Corvallis OR 97339

FMI: Lynne Miller – cowgirllmiller@gmail.com

or Rebecca Landis – landisr@peak.org

March 13, 2020

Corvallis Indoor Winter Market intends to open

on Saturday March 14, 2020

The Benton County Health Department is supporting farmers’ markets and commerce in healthy food by helping CIWM set best practices to protect public health.

County health authorities have asked that we operate outside when weather permits and — especially when operating inside — do everything possible to support social distancing of three feet.

Changes this week will include modifying the layout inside Guerber Hall at the Benton County Fairgrounds to spread out vendors and using public announcements and signs to promote social distancing and other helpful practices.

Many vendors already are outside, and some vendors will be skipping markets for a variety of reasons, creating plenty of room to rearrange the layout.  

CIWM is urging vendors to stay home if there’s any chance they are ill and assuring them there are no penalties for cancelling.

Now is clearly not the time to turn our backs on fresh and healthy food and the local farmers who produce it. People of all income levels in our communities need access to food that sustains health and wellness, and Oregon’s largely open-air farmers’ markets are well-positioned to do that in a safe manner.

Last week we began promoting plumbed hand washing in Guerber Hall, and we will add more hand washing outside. We will continue last week’s addition of frequently disinfecting restrooms and other surfaces.

Other actions we have or will take include:

  • Asking vendors to stop sampling or modify sampling procedures.
  • Adjusting other practices, such as pre-bagging salad mixes that were sold in bulk.
  • Post-postponing non-essential activities, like drawings.
  • Additional signage to encourage customers touching produce as little as possible prior to selection and purchase.
  • Social media and signs telling anyone who is ill not to attend or enter the building.

Long before the governor’s action, CIWM and other Oregon farmers’ markets have been engaging with vendors in a thoughtful discussion of ways that both vendors and the markets can and will step up our game to protect public health.

Efforts accelerated when we learned late Wednesday that a governor’s executive order would be issued today.

At a press conference on March 12 it was confirmed that mandatory closures do not apply to stores, including grocery stores.  A separate provision allows gatherings and events with more than 250 only if they can employ social distancing of at least three feet.

While CIWM and the Oregon Farmers Market Association sought to confirm with the Oregon Health Authority that farmers’ markets are to be treated as groceries providing essential access to food rather than simply social events or gatherings, we remain willing and able to make operational changes to ensure public safety.

Winter farmers’ markets in cities including Portland, Beaverton, Oregon City and Roseburg also are planning to open on Saturday.

Despite an arguably more restrictive governor’s order in Washington State, markets in Seattle have remained open. Here is a statement from one of the Seattle market associations:

https://seattlefarmersmarkets.org/programs-events/events/farmers-markets-are-retail-food-businesses

CIWM will continue to work closely with local and state health authorities as we navigate this public health challenge.