LOGAN SQUARE — The Logan Square Farmers Market has been postponed until after May 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The popular outdoor market was supposed to open last week. The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, the organization that puts on the market, was gearing up for an opening unlike any other with strict new policies that would allow shoppers and farmers to practice proper social distancing.
But at the last minute, city officials put the kibosh on the opening to “ensure Chicago continues to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” according to Jessica Wobbekind, executive director for the chamber.
“Although we are disappointed, we respect and understand the decision. We are not defeated and will open this summer, only a bit later,” Wobbekind said in a written statement.
The market will now open sometime after May 30, though an exact date has not been set yet, Wobbekind said.
When the market opens, it will look and feel a lot different than the markets of past years.
For one thing, there will be a lot fewer vendors. The market will only host 24 vendors, all of them from local farms, as opposed to its usual 80 or so.
All of the vendors will be spaced out to allow for proper social distancing. Customers won’t be able to walk up to the booth and feel produce before buying it. There will be a strict “no touching” policy and customers will be required to stand six feet away behind a taped-off area while the vendors fetch and bag up produce.
Only 100 people will be allowed in the market at any given time. Once people are inside, there will be a strictly enforced one-way aisle. It will be someone’s job to count how many people come in and out of the market, Wobbekind said.
The chamber will have a booth in front with hand sanitizer. Hand washing stations will be installed throughout the market.
There will be no live music, no prepared foods and no community-based tents.
“We’re really encouraging people not to linger,” Wobbekind said.
Though people will be allowed to walk up to the market as usual, the chamber will strongly encourage people to place orders online through the Logan Square Farmers Market website so they can pick up orders and leave quickly.
One of the reasons the Logan Square market is planning to offer walk-up service is because LINK cards aren’t accepted online in Illinois.
Farmers markets are considered essential businesses and some have opened with strict social distancing in cities across the country, including in coronavirus hotspot New York City.
But Chicago markets haven’t opened for walk-up service. A farmers market in Ravenswood is offering no-contact pickup. The 61st Street Farmers Market in Woodlawn has gone virtual.
The Evanston Farmers Market, however, opened last weekend for walk-up service with a two-block line.
Ahead of the Logan Square Farmers Market opening in June, Wobbekind and the chamber are strongly encouraging neighbors to support local farms by ordering from them online through the market’s website. Some local businesses are also now carrying items from local farms. Check out the chamber’s comprehensive virtual market to support the farms.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.