2020 Queen Anne Farmers Market Opens

Thursday, May 28, the Queen Anne Farmers Market opened its 2020 season, operating for the first time under Corona virus social constraints.


With help from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Matt Kelly, Director of the Market worked out a plan that would allow shoppers and farmers to all have a safe experience. This produced an L-shaped market plan, incorporating one block of West Crockett Street and a portion of adjoining 1st Avenue West, next to McClure Middle School.


In addition, all of the vendor booths were arrayed along just one side of each street, and were separated from each other by 10′ of open space. Customer flow ran one-way through the market, starting near the entrance to the Queen Anne Pool and working its way north and then east to the exit, adjacent to Queen Anne Avenue.

The market staff metered entrance to the shopping zone to control the total number of shoppers in the area at any one time. This required a waiting line, with appropriate social distancing.


Chalk X’s on the sidewalk marked the required 6′ spacing.


Signs adjacent to the waiting line explained the rules


Other signs outlined the range of vendor participation.


A staff attendant talked by phone with another person at the exit to determine when and how many people to let in.


This person stood at the junction of the regular waiting line and the line for people who had placed preorders for pickup.


Good graphics in the shopping zone made things easy to understand.


And the openness of the space (in contrast to typical prior years) made it easy to see each vendor and the variety of produce.


Many shoppers wore masks, and some also wore gloves. For those without gloves, hand sanitizer was provided near both the entrance and exit.


At each vendor booth, social distancing for people waiting their turn had been marked out on the pavement, in this case where local Council-member Andrew Lewis in the blue jacket is illustrating how to wait one’s turn to buy flowers. He rang the bell to help open the market.


It appears in the photo above, that the booth is blocking the crosswalk; but crosswalk traffic had been rerouted to an adjacent corner. In addition, circulation for general pedestrian traffic had been clearly maintained on sidewalks around the perimeter of the market (below at McClure school).


For the first market day in this new format, a reasonable number and variety of vendors were present; but the layout did produce a somewhat less vibrant than normal atmosphere.


That will likely change as the market kicks into gear in June and July and more people become aware of how easy it is to shop. One major difference that could immediately be felt was that the familiar food trucks and community dining table were not in place. It’s possible that some of them will return in August; but Matt Kelly says that will need to be worked out with SDOT as social distancing requirements evolve over the summer.

Market staff made sure that shoppers’ questions were answered and also monitored the social distancing as required.


Other staff controlled the exit point to Queen Anne Avenue and the flow of customers, and then let the entry point staff know to let more people in.


It was overall a calm, safe and positive first day opening. It will be interesting to see how things develop as summer really kicks into gear and we move into phases 2 and 3 of the civic reopening.