Topeka Farmers Market opens; vendors no longer required to wear a mask

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Vendors at the Downtown Farmers Market in Topeka don’t have to wear masks around customers anymore.

On Thursday, county commissioners decided to allow all outdoor vendors to be exempt from wearing a mask. Even when they’re within six feet of customers.

This includes places like the farmers market.

The decision came after dozens of farmers said that it was too hot to wear a mask outside.

Vicki George, a customer at the market, says she’ll only be shopping from vendors who are wearing a mask.

“I’m disappointed in the vendors that are not wearing masks. They’re not protecting themselves, they’re protecting me,” George said. “And I am older and I have a husband with immune problems at home so I can’t risk it.”

Chris Byler owns Cowboy Prairie Dust and wanted commissioners to pass the no mask rule.

She says she’s not wearing her mask the entire time, but will leave the decision up to customers if they want her to or not.

“I still have them with me and I ask customers ‘Would you feel more comfortable if I put mine on?’ and then, you know, everybody said no, you know I’m fine,” Byler said. “But I do have that option if they want me to put mine on. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Janice Hollander owns Country Greenhouse in Holton.

She says the farmers market isn’t just a hobby for her, it’s how she makes her living year round.

So her and her husband are doing their best to make customers feel safe by wearing a mask, while also staying cool themselves as it gets hotter.

“When it gets to where you can’t take it anymore, you take them off for a while, or you go back in the trailer for a while and have something to drink,” Hollander said. “And when we load up of course we take them off.”

There were signs around the market that asked customers to practice social distancing.

Workers like waitresses at indoor restaurants still have to wear a mask when they’re within six feet of customers, according to county guidelines.

The farmers market will continue to open on Saturday mornings at 12th & Harrison in Downtown Topeka.

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