At busy supermarkets across the city, it can be really challenging to practice social distancing. This weekend, some New Yorkers have found it easier to keep their distance from each other, all while getting their shopping done at an open-air market.
Many customers who buy produce at the Tompkins Square Greenmarket, which is only open on Sundays, noticed a big difference in how business there is now being conducted.
Robbin Schwartz of the East Village wasn't able to hand-pick her produce Sunday.
"I was like pointing, ‘No, not that potato —that potato,” she told NY1. And while she admits it was frustrating to not be able to select her own potatoes, she admits, "It's fine. It's a potato. I'm really glad that they're doing these things."
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In direct response to the Coronavirus outbreak, Grow NYC, which runs the market by Avenue A and East 7th Street, has implemented some major changes. Tables now separate customers from vendors by several feet. Signs urge customers to not touch any of the produce.
You'll also find customers waiting in line several feet apart, as a practical way to keep shopping, while social distancing.
Vendors like Luke Samascott tell NY1 he's hopeful that these new measures will help keep workers and customers safe at a precarious time, when fears about the spread of the Coronavirus have so many on edge.
Samascott, who runs Samascott Orchards, travels to the market every Sunday from Kinderhook, NY to sell apples and other produce. "Everyone's been pretty appreciative and nice, but some people are a little impatient,” he said. “I think it's actually making the community better. We're helping people stay safe, stay clean, stay healthy."
In the meantime, some vendors had put their own protective measures in place. One stand no longer allows handlers who deal with money to touch produce.
Some customers tell NY1 while they are grateful for the opportunity to support vendors at outdoor farmers markets, they admit it is taking some time getting used to this new normal.
"I usually touch and smell and feel what I'm about to cook because I want to make sure I'm getting the best, freshest product, but when you can't touch or feel anything, you're kinda not sure,” said Micaela Cordoba of the Lower East Side.