JERSEY CITY, NJ - Even as local and public health officials continue to grapple with COVID-19, Jersey City will reopen its farmers markets – with new restrictions – in an effort to provide healthy, organic produce to residents in all parts of the city.
“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,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “These are some of the small, but discernible steps towards approaching a sense of safe normalcy while we still adhere to all the recommended public safeguards to halt the spread of Coronavirus.”
The farmers’ markets, all open-air distributors of fresh produce and goods, are monitored and licensed by the city’s Department of Health and Human Services. Every year, all eight markets provide fresh produce and locally grown products to residents in every corner of the city.
The Paulus Hook market will 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. 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.
Returning the markets comes just one week after the city reopened five parks citywide while asking users to practice social distancing measures and participate only non-contact, passive recreation. Columbia Park, Mary Benson Park, Arlington Park and Ercel Webb are slated to open later this week.
“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 Stacey Flanagan, Director of Health and Human Services, adding that this includes finding ways to manage costs while also providing sanitization stations and clean food for people in needs. “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.”
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 at this time. Marketers are required to wear face coverings and gloves while staying six feet apart.
“We’re taking the reopening of our city step-by-step. 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 towards a full recovery in a cautious and thoughtful manner to ensure the health and safety of our community is embedded in every decision,” Fulop said.
All farmers’ market accept SNAP vouchers (or food stamps) and EBT (electronic benefit transfer)
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