Widespread public concern over the COVID-19 virus (also known as the Coronavirus) has affected change at many of Arizona’s public farmer’s markets. Perhaps more alarmingly, this public health concern has placed substantial operational and financial risks on many small businesses.
Here we will break down current changes that are being made at a majority of the Arizona farmer’s markets. We will talk about what Absolutely Delightful Arizona Honey will be doing to ensure our customers have continued access to local honey and healthy products from the hive. And we also aim to address our concerns for the collateral damage that this virus may cause for Arizona small businesses like ours.
First and foremost, to our customers and to everyone who supports local businesses, we would like you to be safe and shop smart.
We must be vigilant in preventing the spread of this virus, which means that we strongly consider recommendations for public health best-practices by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities who have done a great job communicating with the public at large. If you are feeling ill or if you may be at a heightened risk of catching this nasty bug, please do your part to protect yourself and our community by staying home.
We are happy to work with any of our customers that fall into this category by offering discounted shipping rates for the duration of this viral outbreak. If you have questions regarding online orders or our discounted shipping, please contact us.
What changes are going to be made to address the Coronavirus at Arizona Farmer’s Markets?
We are fortunate that as of our writing of this article (Mar. 13), many of the Arizona Farmer’s Markets have sent out notice to their vendors that they intend to remain open as long as local authorities deem that it is safe.
This is great news for the vendors that depend on attending these markets to keep their businesses afloat.
With that, market managers and owners are deeply concerned for their vendors and the people within their communities. The Downtown Phoenix Public Market, Uptown Farmer’s Market and Roadrunner Park Farmer’s Market have sent out notice to their vendors that samples of food and non-food products are prohibited for the time being.
Additionally, public markets (including Gilbert Farmer’s Market, Downtown Phoenix Public Market and Uptown Farmer’s Market) are scaling back recreational activities, events and lunch seating in order to minimize the public health risks. This means that markets will be closing dining areas, workshops, cooking demonstrations and kid zones.
Additional changes to the marketplace for vendors will most likely include:
- Mandatory sanitization supplies will be enforced by our markets
- Sterilization of credit card transaction devices will be enforced after each transaction
- Samples (both food and non-food) will be prohibited
- Food purchased at the market may be required to be supplied within a closed container
- Gloves will be mandatory for vendors
- Additional booth space between stalls
- Bringing pets to market may be discouraged
- Elimination of unnecessary exchanges such as handshakes, hugging, elbow bumps, fist bumps
- A strong recommendation to limit the amount of product handling by customers
- Vendors are strongly recommended to offer product pre-orders for convenient customer grab and go
Our local markets and vendors are currently bracing themselves to enforce these changes for upwards of 1-2 months.
Even still, we small business owners are VERY grateful these markets have remained open.
How will the Coronavirus affect Arizona small businesses that rely on local farmer’s markets?
If you have just read over the list of changes that many markets will be enacting to combat the spread of COVID-19, you can easily see how this will dramatically change the atmosphere of the local markets over the coming weeks.
First, the added precautionary measures to minimize public health risks represent additional costs to both the markets and the vendors that attend these markets to keep our communities safe.
In many cases, news of the changes to the local markets has only recently been delivered to vendor inboxes (between March 11 – 13th). And the extent to which vendors needed to carry sanitization supplies has only recently been specified.
(To be clear, we are not complaining about these necessary changes. The markets are doing the correct thing to help keep their communities safe and the markets open and we are grateful for their precautions and communications with local health authorities and ourselves.)
Today, many vendors might be scrambling to purchase the necessary supplies to be permitted to sell at the market tomorrow. Even still, we count ourselves fortunate that these markets will remain open for the time being.
However, the limitations of product sampling and the handling of vendor products present very real barriers for vendors trying to sell their goods.
Not all markets will remain open.
We have recently received news that the popup market held by Phoenix Children’s Hospital will be closed this year. Many local events, concerts and art festivals are being cancelled to avoid the spread of the virus.
Make no mistake—the closures of these events and markets will impact the small businesses who rely on these venues to keep their businesses afloat.
Additionally, due to travel restrictions and anxieties, many local businesses are already bracing for reduced business during what might otherwise be an Arizona peak consumer season.
Small businesses such as ours will need to adapt and be smart with their resources to continue to serve their customers.
As many markets and customers have already called for— vendors and small business are being asked to offer pre-orders for pickup delivery at the markets. Vendors must also consider alternative product delivery means like local delivery options or shipping delivery.
What Changes will Absolutely Delightful be making to address the challenges created by the Coronavirus?
We at Absolutely Delightful are taking public health concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus very seriously.
You can expect that we will be wearing gloves, using sanitization best-practices and following the precautionary guidelines outlined by our local markets and health authorities to keep ourselves and customers safe.
We are currently accepting customer pre-orders for easy market product pickups (grab and go) by phone/text: 602-332-9253, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and through our social channels: Instagram and Facebook @adazhoney
On that note, to ensure that we receive your order on time (and when possible) try and place all pickup orders before Saturday!
In the coming weeks we intend to offer shipping discounts to Arizona locals that choose to make their purchases through our online shop.
Customers can find limited varieties of our products at local stores including:
And we will continue to explore our options over the coming weeks to ensure that our customers can continue to order the products they love and support our local beekeepers.
Thank you to those that continue to support our small businesses and community by visiting the local markets, as well as those that decide to place their orders from the comfort of their home!
From all of us here at Absolutely Delightful – be safe, shop local, and Thank You!