With all the negativity around flaunted by the constant barrage of news on the virus, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone. And that your only refuge is your family. To a large degree, that is true. As we’ve passed over a year into this health crisis, it’s estimated 1 in every 5 Americans is experiencing above-normal levels of intense psychological distress. And why not? We have a double-edged sword facing us: one a health risk and the other financial ruin.
But as much as we believe in the power of family, we do more when communities move as one. When a community works together to face a problem as huge as COVID-19, then things are bound to be lighter. Solutions are bound to be easier to implement when families jibe. And this is nowhere more apparent than in farmer’s markets, specifically in drive-thru markets.
When organizing an event, one of the key things to look into is the possible bottlenecks. Why? Simply because when bottlenecks happen, people get delayed. And when people get delayed, they stay in one place. The more they do that, the greater the tendency to spread the virus.
So a good way for you to avoid bottlenecks in choosing what product to buy is to send out the product choices online. A website should be ideal. But you can still function without one. Putting up a community page on Facebook where sellers can post their products is instrumental. You can share your updates via messenger and even do orders there. By doing the selection and ordering online, you lessen delays during buying.
As your market size grows, boosted by the strong demand for daily needs (e.g., fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat), deploying a better storage area for community goods should be timely. For instance, a good next step is constructing a metal building. A good structure should be to house your community goods. Even better, it can give you a better place to transact your farmer’s market without blowing a huge hole in your community wallets.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is not an option these days. Although we don’t need to be as thorough as healthcare workers do, we need to observe minimum CDC requirements to transact safely. We are talking about wearing gloves and masks.
You might find gloves to be a bit of an overkill but know the hands of a stranger can transmit the virus. Or for that matter, transmission can also take place when you’re interacting with someone you know. So the best way for you is to put on gloves. Advise everyone who will be handling the goods to do so. Disposable gloves should be the way to go. As much as possible, encourage everyone who does the packaging and the delivery of goods to wear one.
As for face protection, it should be incumbent that people wear one. This is a further safeguard especially for people who will be interacting directly with buyers. This also has an added boost to your farmer’s market. When people see your people are wearing PPEs, they are confident that they are buying from sellers who ensure the safety of the goods they sell.
Use Online Payment
The best way to have minimum contact with the buyer is to use online payments. Take note that potentially contaminated surfaces can still get you the virus. In this regard, you can use PayPal or other online payment options (e.g., Visa, Mastercard) for instance.
Of course, if this is not possible as often people from all walks of life arrive in your farmer’s market, then you do the next best thing. Use payment terminals. And as much as possible, let them swipe the cards themselves. Of course, there’s NFC which allows “contactless” payments. And that should be ideal too.
Distribute sanitation terminals in your farmer’s market. It can be as simple as a soap-and-water terminal. It’s imperative that customer-facing staff should practice frequent handwashing. It’s also a good idea to have your kitchen equipment sanitized now and then.
Lastly, organize well. Make sure duties and responsibilities are clear-cut and each person who’s in charge knows their roles. It’s always best to train people to get the job done as well as possible. When you put your mind to it, getting your farmer’s market a timely make-over should be a walk in the park.
Indeed, drive-thru markets are a blessing. Couple that with online ordering, even in its most basic form via social media. But to make it work, you need to sharpen your approach. Anyone can put people and products together. But making a farmer’s market really work effectively without spreading the virus is another thing.