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Downtown San Luis Obispo's Farmers' Market announces reopening plans

Healthy meals going to communities in need during coronavirus pandemic
Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 22:32:14-04

The Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market will return on Thursday, May 6th with fewer vendors and a smaller footprint.

After a year without operation, the Farmers' Market will open in phases before opening to pre-pandemic levels.

“This is not going to be the farmers’ market that you remember. It’s going to be a scaled version of just fruits and vegetables only, and some essential goods,” said Bettina Swigger, CEO of the organization Downtown SLO.

The market will happen every Thursday but will only comprise of two blocks, instead of the usual five, along Higuera Street, between the cross-sections of Chorro and Osos Streets.

Vendors will also be limited, numbering between 20 and 30 in order to keep the crowds from pre-pandemic levels, which would range from anywhere between 3,000 and 12,000, according to Swigger.

The only vendors allowed in this phase will be certified farmers, sellers who make pre-packaged food, and artisans and makers of home goods as long as they are made in-house and off-site.

Vendors will maintain a six-foot distance between booths and there will be hand-washing stations installed.

Restaurants that serve outside in spaces previously used for street parking, called parklets, will be apart of the market. However, people can still enjoy parklets - Market-goers will not be able to consume food or drinks onsite.

People will be able to enjoy walking around and perusing with their families, as the streets will be closed to traffic from 5 pm until 10 pm on Thursdays.

Until now, the Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market has been closed because of the pandemic.

Since the changes, vendors have been able to sell at other farmers' markets across the Central Coast because they were classified differently and were allowed under the California Department of Agriculture's Guidelines.

Swigger said the Downtown Farmers' Market often operated more like a street fair, so the city took a conservative approach.

Nearby businesses benefit from the market as well, because guests will shop and dine at local stores at the same time.

"You know besides spending their money right there in those stands on that site, they’re also spending their money in the businesses that are right there so clearly that has been a major impact for the local economy in the downtown,” said Jim Dantona, the President and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

To find out more about the market and other events happening downtown, click here.