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Saturday Market, farmers market talk new mask requirement

Here's how the two markets are working to keep visitors safe.

Posted: Jul 14, 2020 6:34 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Two area markets are working to take additional steps to keep visitors safe after Gov. Kate Brown shared new guidance that will expand face covering requirements and other restrictions.

Under the new rules, effective Wednesday, people must wear a face covering in outdoor spaces when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

RELATED: GOV. BROWN: PRIVATE GATHERINGS LIMITED TO 10; FACE MASK RULES EXPANDED

KEZI 9 News talked to Tawnia Ross, the Operations Manager at the Lane County Farmers Market.

“We’re a small staff in our nonprofit, and we're just going to politely, you know, be handled as politely as possible,” Ross said. “We are in the downtown area which does have a wide group of people.”

She said they want to be as accepting as possible with the understanding that some individuals cannot wear a mask, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.

“Our most important thing is to keep our shoppers safe and our staff safe,” Ross said. “We’re just going to handle it in customer service type way and be polite and understand that there are a small portion of the population that can't wear a mask.”

If an individual does not have a mask, the market is able to provide them with one for a donation.

KEZI also talked to Vanessa Roy, who works with marketing for the Eugene Saturday Market.

Prior to the new mask rules, it was a “strong request” for shoppers at the Saturday Market to wear face coverings.

“So far it's actually worked out pretty well,” Roy said. “The majority of people are wearing face masks, but at this point now we are going to be allowed to require it, which means that when we see somebody without a face mask, we can approach them and ask them to please put one on.”

Roy said that on any given Saturday, five to 10 people are selling a mask, so it is not difficult to find one if you forget yours at home.

“I mean this is our world now, so the majority of people are already accustomed to being aware of their spacing,” Roy said. “We have added six-foot-distancing painted signs onto the sidewal,k which I think it's really helpful for people to understand.”

Health officials said it is important to show compassion and consideration for businesses, as this is a learning process for all.

“We’re seeing more often than not businesses really trying to do their part,” Public Health spokesman Jason Davis said. “However, this is a huge ask of businesses. And it is definitely not par for the course for them. This is a new situation for them to have to approach people and talk to them about this mask policy. So, we would ask that people have compassion and consideration for those businesses and also for those individuals you see in the community who might not be wearing masks.”

More information about the new requirements can be found here.

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