CEDAR RAPIDS — With Iowa finally providing coronavirus guidelines to farmers markets, NewBo City Market will host outdoor markets and food trucks, beginning next week.
Many farmers markets pushed back their opening dates into June, when they were left in limbo awaiting state guidance.
But Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that the outdoor markets could begin operating this week, with social distancing and other guidelines in place.
NewBo City Market announced Wednesday, April 29, that it will host farmers markets and food trucks, beginning the first week of May, to support small local businesses and farmers, while maintaining social distancing guidelines and state regulations regarding the coronavirus.
The market, at 1100 Third St. SE, will host Food Truck Tuesday every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning May 5, in the market’s yard and parking lot. A variety of food truck vendors will set up at a minimum of 10 feet from each other and serve carry-out only meals.
Guests will not be allowed to dine at the market and will be asked to order, pick up and take their food off the premises in a timely fashion.
The Market will host “Just the Essentials” Farmers Markets every Wednesday, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This outdoor market, beginning Wednesday, May 6, will feature a variety of local farmers selling only essential items such as fruits and vegetables.
Vendors will set up in the market yard and have a minimum of 10 feet between each stall.
The farmers market is a rain or shine event. For inclement weather, vendors will be placed under the awning.
“At both Food Truck Tuesdays and Farmers Market days, social distancing will be of utmost importance to maintain the health and safety of both our local food producers and patrons,” the market noted in a press release.
Hand sanitizer will be available at each vendor table, as well as at least one station set up with sanitizer for the public. All guests are encouraged to wear face masks and only one person should approach a vendor table at a time.
Parking will be available, but no public access to the NewBo City Market building.
Also Wednesday, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance announced it would forgo a previously awarded $25,000 in funding from the City of Cedar Rapids’ Hotel-Motel Tax Revenue Funds.
“Hotel-motel tax revenue is down dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and even if there were to be a rebound of hotel reservations, the program may not be able to fully fund its next round of awards,” the organization noted in a press release.
The Economic Alliance planned to use the funding to help produce the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market, which will face adjustments this year to comply with public health standards and for the safety of all, thus leading to lower event expenses.
The City’s Hotel-Motel Tax Revenue program contributes to many nonprofit arts and cultural organizations throughout Cedar Rapids.
“For there to be any swift and meaningful economic recovery once it’s safe to return to our daily lives in the community, it’s essential our arts and cultural community is strong, ready and open for business,” Doug Neumann, Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, noted in the press release. “We have amazing attractions and can offer such a rich and rewarding experience to our residents and visitors. Like so many organizations, these places have all been hurt by the effects of the pandemic.”
The first 2020 Downtown Farmers Market is scheduled for Saturday, June 6. The Economic Alliance still plans to hold Downtown Farmers Markets this summer, but the event will be adjusted to comply with public health standards recently released from the State of Iowa. Details on the 2020 Market season will be announced in the coming days.
“When we factor in the lower than anticipated event expenses so that we are in line with public health guidelines, we see more value in these funds being allocated to arts and cultural organizations that add to our excellent quality of life in Cedar Rapids” Neumann said.
The Economic Alliance added that its decision to forgo hotel-motel tax revenue funds would not be possible without the financial support of the many sponsors of the Downtown Farmers Market, including Presenting Sponsor Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust.
Last year’s Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids attracted 50,000 people. See photos here.