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.