WILMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen has tabled a vote on the fate of the Wilmington Farmers Market until a meeting on April 27.
The Farmers Market was seeking permission to continue use of the Swain Green, beginning June 14. Organizers also sought permission to use the Green on May 3. An indoor market had been planned at the Methodist Church on May 3, but that event has since been cancelled due to social distancing guidelines.
According to a memorandum from organizer Dana Burnham, new restrictions on vendors had been planned with regards to payment process and use of disinfecting wipes. Additionally, activities would be limited to the sale of food, with no crafts or other types of vendors present. The memorandum, which Town Manager Jeff Hull presented to the board, stated that it would encourage a “get-in, get-out mentality,” and discourage social gathering at the market.
Members of the board still had questions regarding specific crowd control measures.
Selectman Jomarie O’Mahony noted the strict measures being taken by other essential businesses in town, and noted that parks had been closed. She asked how crowd size could be kept under control on the Green during the market.
“Market Basket has a certain capacity limit, and they have a protocol regarding how you get in and out of the market,” she said.
“I want the Farmers Market to happen, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have it,” she added.
Selectman Michael McCoy agreed with O’Mahony.
“You’re really going to have to police this,” he stated, noting the strict limitations on barber shops and grocery stores.
Selectman Jonathan Eaton added that he understood that livelihoods depend on the sale of goods at farmers markets, and while he wouldn’t want to stand in the way of that, he wanted to make sure appropriate measures were taken.
“I just want to make sure that if we’re allowing this to happen, that there are some crowd control measures in place,” Eaton said.
Acknowledging the board’s unanimous and continued support for the Farmers Market in general, board chair Greg Bendel asked Hull to gather more information from the event organizer, such that a vote could be taken with more information at hand at the next meeting. He also noted that, while the current Stay-at-Home Advisory remains in place until May 4, the potential for further extension remains present, and that the situation could evolve quickly.