Coronavirus: Lebanon opens farm market, closing street for outdoor business

Handmade 100% soy candles are sold by Kathy Zimmer from Free Spirit Farm at the Lebanon Farmer’s Market. STAFF PHOTO

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Handmade 100% soy candles are sold by Kathy Zimmer from Free Spirit Farm at the Lebanon Farmer’s Market. STAFF PHOTO

The city is opening its farm market on Thursday and closing a downtown Lebanon street in coming weekends while taking precautions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 .

"I'm willing to take whatever precautions are needed," said Laura Sperry of Goodlife Farm in Clearcreek Twp. "I know a lot of people are dependent on us as a local food source."

Sperry and her father also sell seasonal produce and farm-raised beef, pork and chicken at farm markets in Sugarcreek Twp., , set to open Friday, and Deerfield Twp., already open on Saturdays.

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In Lebanon, in addition to the Thursday farm market, Mulberry Street will close to traffic on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and ending on Sunday evening “over the next few weekends,” according to a press release.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that bars and restaurants can resume outdoor service on May 15 and indoor service on May 21. Case trends have flattened in both Warren and Greene counties in recent weeks.

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“The street closure will allow downtown restaurants to put more tables outside, extending out into the street, to maintain proper social distancing guidelines,” the release today said.

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The closure will also “further enhance the visitor experience by providing additional open space in the downtown to enjoy a beverage while waiting for a table” in parts of the city within the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.

At the farm market, six additional feet of space will be designated between vendors. No cloth table coverings will be used or samples handed out. Vendors will be providing single-use packaging or bags.

“The vendors will also be regularly cleaning their display, practicing good hand washing or glove etiquette, and have been strongly encouraged to wear face masks,” according to the press release issued Wednesday.

Through Oct. 15, the market is to be open every Thursday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. at the corner of Sycamore and Main streets in Lebanon.

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The county has provided guidelines for farm markets.

“We have provided our farmers’ markets with the attached guidance provided to us from the Ohio Department of Agriculture in order to help them to operate in a safe manner,” Warren County Director of Environmental Health Chris Balster said in an email Wednesday.

Customers are being asked to:

-Practice good social distancing,

-“Strongly encouraged” to wear face mask,

-Stay home if sick,

-Not touch products they don’t intend to buy. Instead have the vendor select and bag purchases.

Customers are encouraged to pre-order and use vendor subscription services for weekly or monthly food boxes to reduce time spent in the market space.

“These precautions are based on recommendations from the Ohio Farmers Market Network and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The sanitation guidelines being used are from CDC. I will continue to monitor any recommendations and make changes as needed,” Casey Burdick, the city’s recreation and natural resources coordinator, said in an email.

Area Farmers Markets

Deerfield Twp., Saturdays, May to October, Kingswood Park, 4188 Irwin Simpson Road,

Lebanon, Thursdays, May 14 to October 15, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m., corner of Sycamore Street and Main Street, 513-228-3104.

Sugarcreek Twp., , Fridays, Mid-May to Mid-November, 3 p.m.- 6 p.m., 6124 Wilmington Pike, 937-848-8426.

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