Editor’s Note: The article previously stated that the Downtown Topeka Farmers Market was shut down by the Shawnee County Health Department. This has been updated to reflect new information provided by Shawnee County Emergency Management Director Dusty Nichols.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Downtown Topeka Farmers Market could be shut down by the Shawnee County Health Department if they don’t comply with the county’s public health orders.
Market Manager Mary Tyler said Shawnee County Health Officer Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino showed up Saturday morning and informed her that he was not happy with what he saw.
Tyler said she was informed by Dr. Pezzino last week that all vendors needed to be wearing masks and she passed that message along to them. However, she said some vendors were not wearing masks due to the heat.
According to Shawnee County Emergency Management Director Dusty Nichols, the Farmers Market was not shut down Saturday, despite getting multiple complaints and pictures indicating that vendors were not complying with health order.
However, he informed Tyler that if she didn’t present the Shawnee County Health Department with a plan on changes that will be made and how she will enforce them by Friday, then a new public health order will be put out stating that the Farmers Market will not be allowed to open.
Tyler said she hopes they will be able to work something out with the Shawnee County Health Department in order to prevent that from happening.
“The public is so grateful that we are there,” said Tyler. “They like fresh fruits and vegetables. We’re outdoors. They get to go out and do something. So, we’re really hoping that we can get the community together and let’s keep this going. Let’s not shut this down.”
Tyler said that along with some board members, she plans on attending the Shawnee County commission meeting on Monday to express her concerns with commissioners about this issue.
Nichols said they don’t want to shut businesses down. But, it’s important that businesses cooperate with public health orders.
You can view the county’s most recent public health order HERE, along with their guidelines for wearing masks.