ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – The Ann Arbor Farmers Market continues to re-open in stages, with the next steps coming in the next week.
The market has been open in limited capacity since May 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic and has slowly been re-introducing features. Soon, credit card tokens will be re-introduced and the market will return to its regular hours, said market manager Stephanie Stauffer. However, limitations will still be in place going forward.
Starting Saturday, June 6, credit card tokens will be accepted again. Stauffer said shoppers can usually walk up to the market office and use their cards to purchase token to spend at the store. But this service was suspended temporarily to minimize contact with staff from the public.
Then on Wednesday, June 10, the market will be back in its regular schedule, being open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Lately, the market was open only until noon, Stauffer said.
The market opened May 9 for curbside pickup only, then allowing on-site sales May 20, she said. The market has been allowing only essential items to be sold, such as produce, plants (including flowers), baked goods and hygiene products.
However, Stauffer said the market will slowly begin to bring back artisan vendors on Saturday, June 13. But to follow social distancing, the market will be limiting the number of vendors. Vendors who sold with the market for the longest will be brought back first and the market will move forward from there, Stauffer said.
Certain paths through the market will be one-way and all vendors and staff are required to wear masks, Stauffer said.
While the market has accepted Electronic Benefits Transfer cards in exchange for tokens to spend at the market in the past, it will now be accepting the new Pandemic EBT cards as well. These were introduced by state governments to help families with school-age children.
Stauffer is not sure when the market will be open in normal capacity or the status of their events like food truck rallies or cooking demonstrations.
“We’re not sure yet what the future holds,” Stauffer said. “We’re trying to do our best and make sure all of our vendors’ economic livelihoods intact, as well as their health.”