Posted Jun 01, 2021
A reflection and update from Executive Director, Mandy Moody
For many, Green City Market has long been a place of nourishment. A place where we connect with family and friends over good food. A place where we do our weekly grocery shopping, where we discover new things, and catch up with the farmers who grow delicious ingredients that end up on our plates.
But in March 2020, when the pandemic arrived, bringing with it a shelter-in-place order; the physical market was forced to close. We made it through the winter, and then made it through the 2020 outdoor season with its delayed openings and strict pandemic restrictions. Another winter season came and we made the difficult decision to stick with e-commerce in lieu of a physical market for the safety of our community.
After a long winter of home deliveries and curbside pickups, our team anxiously awaited the approval of 2020 outdoor season permits — wondering if the market would be allowed to begin on time.
We wondered and planned and wondered some more about what restrictions we’d face. What guidelines we’d have to implement. What new challenges we’d have to solve. We reviewed and revised and rethought market operations safe shopper guidelines. We welcomed returning farmers and said hello to new vendors who waited and worked right alongside us to see what the season would bring.
We worked together with one shared goal in mind: to keep our local farmers in business while keeping our community nourished.
On Saturday, May 1, 2021 with warm weather, sunny skies, and Covid-19 restrictions in place, we opened the 22nd season of Green City Market and welcomed nearly 6,000 shoppers throughout the day.
Crinkled eyes revealed the smiles hiding underneath masks as shoppers delighted in returning to market and vendors sold out of product.
GCM’s Bridge to Phase 5 Mask Policy
As the season continues, so does the evolution of how to create a safe shopping experience for all.
The CDC’s revised guidance on mask-wearing for fully vaccinated individuals created a great, new challenge. When announced, just 38% of Chicagoans were fully vaccinated. And, for various reasons, vaccines weren’t available to all who rely on Green City Market as a safe place to shop.
The messaging was conflicting; a vaccine exemption was put into place for mask-wearing; however businesses were “strongly encouraged” to keep mask mandates in place. Guidance for outdoor operations was missing entirely.
As we took in the news, we worked furiously behind the scenes to ensure that we could safely comply with the new guidelines thrown our way. We met with our fellow farmers market operators throughout the city and had conversations with permitting bodies. We designed and printed new signage and drafted the email you’re reading now. Doing this important work necessitated that we maintain our same mask guidelines for several days.
Now, we are ready for the next phase of operating through a pandemic.
Green City Market will introduce Masked Market Hours from 7-9 a.m. at Green City Market Lincoln Park on every Wednesday and Saturday effective June 2, 2021. During these hours, masks will be required of all shoppers, vendors, volunteers, and staff regardless of vaccination status.
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Illinois, and recognizing how safe and effective the COVID-19 vaccines are, Green City Market will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated people from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Green City Market Lincoln Park and from 8 a.m. 1 p.m. at Green City Market West Loop.
Unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear a mask within Green City Market.
Please review Green City Market's safe shopper guidelines prior to your visit.