NEW ALBANY — The downtown New Albany farmers market has been approved to begin its seasonal operation starting Saturday with several restrictions and safety precautions to be put in place to protect vendors, volunteers and customers.
Develop New Albany — the group that organizes the market and staffs it with volunteers — provided the city with a list of guidelines it intends to implement including a 10-foot space between vendors, a one-entrance, one-exit setup and the installation of several hand-sanitizer stations at the market at City Square.
Additionally, DNA is requiring volunteers and vendors to wear personal protective equipment and requesting that customers wear face masks. Only one customer at a time will be permitted at a vending station and there will be no eating, drinking or product sampling at the market. Customers are being asked to preorder the items they wish to purchase.
The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety approved Tuesday allowing the farmers market to occupy the City Square space from 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday through October. President Warren Nash requested that DNA provide free masks at the market in case customers don’t bring masks.
“I’m afraid a lot of people won’t show up with masks, and if we don’t have them available, I think that could be a problem,” he said.
Otherwise, Nash and the other board members were supportive of the proposals set forth by DNA.
“That sounds like a very good plan though, at least on the surface,” Nash said.
New Albany City Councilman Jason Applegate, who is also on the DNA board, said he would inform the organization of the need to take masks to the market ahead of Saturday’s opening.
City Attorney Shane Gibson included in the measure approved by the board the ability for legal staff and other departments to review the operation as necessary.
“I’m assuming adjustments are going to need to be made,” Gibson said.
Some of the other rules include no dogs allowed at the market this season, and customers will be forbidden from touching produce before buying it.
Bank Street from Main Street to Market Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays for the market. A list of farmers market vendors along with additional information about the operation is available at the website developnewalbany.org.
Also during Tuesday’s board of works meeting, City Engineer Larry Summers announced that the Indiana Department of Transportation has started identifying areas that need to be patched ahead of its resurfacing campaign for Interstate 265. He said the work likely will begin on June 1, according to the state, and could include paving on some ramps.
The board also approved closing down East Market Street between Fourth Street and 11th Street on Memorial Day for the annual veterans service. However, the closure is preliminary as city officials said event organizers hadn’t decided as of Tuesday whether the service will be Monday.