Downtown Bentonville Inc. announces its Bentonville Farmers Market will revert to COVID-19 safety protocols implemented throughout 2020.
The decision comes as the Northwest Arkansas region experiences a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. State and local health agencies identify Benton County as an area with “extremely high” COVID-19 case levels.
Beginning on Saturday, August 7th, Bentonville Farmers Market and Art Market will be restricted to only local farmers and artisans. Vendors that promote organizations or businesses will be temporarily pulled from the market to limit unnecessary interactions.
“Our primary focus will always be to provide essential access to fresh, locally-grown produce to the community in the safest way possible,” says Farmers Market Manager Stephanie Marpe.
Throughout the 2020 and 2021 market seasons, vendor tents have been spaced ten feet apart to allow social distancing. Beginning on August 7th, the market will reinstitute the following additional COVID-19 safety precautions:
A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be available for walk-ins from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at 105 South Main Street. No ID, insurance cards, or reservations are required to receive the vaccine.
The reinforcement of safety measures at Bentonville Farmers Market comes as Downtown Bentonville Inc. announced the cancellation of the upcoming August First Friday festival. The Back-to-School-themed event, scheduled for August 6th, was expected to draw over 8,000 attendees to the Bentonville Square, including young children, school administrators and staff, and families.
“First Friday is a massive event. Our team solicited feedback from leaders in the Northwest Arkansas medical community and came to the disappointing conclusion that a large-scale event, marketed to families and school-aged children, could not be held responsibly at this time. We are confident that our Bentonville Farmers Market can continue to run safely as we revert to more stringent safety measures. Our farmers markets draw fewer attendees compared to First Friday, offer a more steady flow of foot traffic, and can be spread out to provide ample room to social distance,” says Downtown Bentonville Inc. Executive Director Andrew Heath.
Downtown Bentonville Inc. will continue to speak with medical professionals and assess the safety of future community gatherings.