FOLLOWUP: No West Seattle Farmers’ Market again tomorrow after all

That stretch of California SW in The Junction will be open to traffic, instead of closed for the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, again tomorrow, for the fifth consecutive Sunday. When the mayor announced this past week that her recent orders would be extended to concur with the new May 4th end date of the governor’s stay-home order, the news release specifically noted that her decision included “Suspension of City-permitted events, with the exception of farmers markets which will continue to be for a potential re-opening.” The governor’s order calls farmers’ markets “essential.” But the nonprofit that runs the West Seattle Farmers’ Market and others says it will NOT be reopening tomorrow despite a short-lived belief it would be allowed to. Here’s what they told their email subscribers today:

We were sure that markets would reopen this weekend. We held off on announcing it, but if you spoke to me privately, I would have told you to make a list and gather your tote bags. However, yesterday (Friday) at 11:30 am, we received a call from the Mayor’s Office saying they could not approve the re-opening of markets this weekend. That came after receiving direct and unilateral communication from Public Health, Office of Sustainability and Environment, and the Office of Economic Development that the markets would indeed be operating this weekend. We had already told the farmers. We had already trained them on the new operating procedures and standards for each market. We were ready to give farmers their main source of income back.

We were ready to run safe and successful food access points for the City of Seattle. This is our job and our staff and vendors are really damn good at it.

Why the reported turnabout? We haven’t heard from the mayor’s office and won’t be able to ask them until Monday. Market managers told us last week they had been planning to operate the market in an “extremely modified” format.

9 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: No West Seattle Farmers' Market again tomorrow after all"

  • Anne April 11, 2020 (10:17 pm)

    Maybe city wanted to see  how well folks  follow the stay off beaches & away from parks rule before allowing markets to open up again? 

    • Elton April 12, 2020 (12:41 am)

      That’s my guess, too. I think with the nice weather and “holiday weekend” they didn’t want this to be the pilot weekend of the modified market. Just a guess 

  • Just me April 12, 2020 (10:08 am)

    Good! Shouldn’t be open til the ban is lifted anyway.  It wouldn’t make sense if the beaches and parks were closed and the market was able to be open. Way too crowded at the market.

  • cheffy30 April 12, 2020 (10:41 am)

    are any of the farms open for you pick or a farmstand? would be fine with me to go out to them…

    • Rooster April 12, 2020 (3:39 pm)

      Yes! Greenbow Farm in Ellensberg has a farm store open Wed, Friday, and Saturdays. They are also doing pre-order drops in WS, Ballard and Magnolia. See their website for hours and details. 

  • TWST April 12, 2020 (11:14 am)

    I miss the markets and wish they could be open right now, but also understand the closure, it makes sense.  Even though these farmers and products are essential, the event of the market poses a risk of creating crowd.  Especially with parks being closed, if the market were to open this weekend for essential shopping, it might also be an exciting destination for cooped up people. Simply put, too many people might want to shop at the market right now.

    It would also be mixed messaging, and could be confusing.

    I look forward to the day, hopefully not too far away, when we can support our local farmers at the market again, and I truly hope there is help available to those being impacted and hit so hard.  This sucks. :(

  • SeaRap April 12, 2020 (1:13 pm)

    If Supermarkets are open,  the could open farmers markets.  Follow same rules of limiting access and social distancing.  

    • Elton April 13, 2020 (10:10 am)

      What I’m curious about is how they’re going to limit the crowds. Grocery stores are open for many hours and have a lot of real estate for outdoor queuing so that if too many people show up they can be made to wait outside (not sure if all stores are doing that, typically when I shop the stores have been pretty empty). A farmer’s market is open for a few hours in an open area, so you have a limited amount of time with a lot of interest – ripe for overcrowding. Unless they fence it off entirely and allocate room for queuing with 6 foot markers so that maybe only a couple dozen people can shop at a time or something, how can they even attempt to keep people away from each other? (I couldn’t find the full list of precautions, so maybe the address this?)  I realize that one way aisles and such in grocery stores are not perfect, but it’s a reasonable balance.

  • WS Transit Rider April 12, 2020 (4:03 pm)

    They shouldn’t be open anyway! 

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