Burbank Farmers Market eyes May 2 reopening

After closing because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Burbank Farmers Market plans to reopen in May after implementing new safety measures to help protect customers and vendors.
(File Photo)

The Burbank Farmers Market is planning its comeback.

After shutting down operations in early April because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, market organizers are eyeing a May 2 reopening with some new safety measures in place to help protect customers and vendors.

Farmers markets are among several businesses considered essential in Los Angeles County and have been allowed to continue to operate during the pandemic, but the decision to close down Burbank’s location, if only for a couple of weeks, was borne out of a safety concern for the small four-person team that runs it.

Denise DeLeo, the market’s manager, said three of the staff members are over the age of 65 and fall under the category of people who are more susceptible to developing serious complications related to the novel coronavirus.

“They have all made the decision because of various underlying immune-compromised situations that they’re going to be following the strict guidelines and not leave the house,” she said. “So that staff of four that runs the market every week has been reduced to me.”

The market did run briefly with just DeLeo and some volunteers helping but eventually that became untenable as the outbreak worsened and more safety guidelines were put in place by the county.

The temporary closure will be used to look at the different precautions the market can implement when it hopefully reopens next month. Additional volunteers are also being sought to help pitch-in with running the market.

Prior to the closure, the farmers market was already implementing some safety measures, such as spacing booths farther apart from one another, requiring vendors to have hand-washing stations and for workers to wear face coverings and masks at all times.

DeLeo said customers were also encouraged to only have one person per family shop at the market to help cut down on crowds.

Crowd control is actually something the market has been trying to figure out as it plans its reopening.

Because of the open-air nature of the market, there’s no real entrance or exit to help control the flow of people who go through. DeLeo said a saving grace for this problem is that the Burbank Farmers Market is fairly small and doesn’t have to contend with huge swaths of people every week.

“One thing that we can thankfully say is that we’re not Hollywood on a Sunday morning, where there’s thousands of people,” she said.

While the May 2 date is not set in stone, DeLeo said she’s hopeful the farmers market will open sometime within the next month in order to continue to supply the people of Burbank with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.