A scaled-down TD Saturday Market could be returning to downtown Greenville next month, but face masks and temperature checks will likely be required.
City officials are proposing to reopen the popular farmers market on June 6 as the TD Essential Market.
It’ll cover the same area of Main Street it always has — from Court Street to East Washington Street — but the number of vendors will be cut in half to meet social distancing guidelines, said Angie Prosser, the city’s director of events and cultural affairs.
“We are looking at just the essential items that meet the SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] guidelines,” Prosser said at a Greenville City Council meeting on May 11.
Of the 83 vendors accepted into the TD Saturday Market, 59 meet SNAP guidelines, making them eligible for the TD Essential Market. The majority will be selling essential foods such as produce, meat, cheese, eggs and bread. Other vendors will offer honey, pasta, specialty processed foods such as juices and sauces, plants and herbs and sweets.
Only 4o vendors will be on-site each week, Prosser said. Including vendors, the maximum number of people allowed in the market will be 175.
Hand sanitizing stations will be set up throughout the market, and vendors have been encouraged to use cashless transactions.
For safety, all vendors and city staffers will also be required to wear face masks and have their temperature checked upon arrival.
Attendees will be expected to do the same, Prosser said
Several City Council members referred to the requirements as the “price of admission.”
At least one — Councilman John DeWorken — felt the proposed changes ventured into “nanny state” territory.
“I’ve got such an issue with mandatory temperatures, mandatory face masks, instead of recommending them,” DeWorken said.
Prosser said the city did a lot of research before coming up with the proposed changes and looked at how farmers markets from Seattle to Travelers Rest had modified their operations in order to remain open during the pandemic.
“If we’re going to do it, our recommendation is to do it safe. It would be irresponsible [otherwise],” Prosser said.
To that end, the city will also be removing what Prosser called “social interaction activities” — no music, no cooking demonstrations, no tastings on-site.
“It will be, come shop and leave and let somebody else come in,” Prosser said.