Although the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced Canal Winchester to cancel many events through July, the city's farmers market is set to open May 30, with restrictions to keep employees and customers safe.

According to the state's stay-at-home order, farmers markets, along with farm and produce stands, are considered essential businesses. However, those in operation must follow strict guidelines, including designating 6-foot distances between people, ensuring hand sanitizer and sanitizing products are available and offering separate operating hours for vulnerable populations.

The Canal Winchester Farmers Market is scheduled to run 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Sept. 26 near Stradley Place in the historic downtown, according to Destination: Canal Winchester executive director Karen Stiles.

"I'm hoping to spread out vendors even more into the green space behind the Stradley Place gazebo," she said. "We also are required to limit the number of people in our market, and that's a challenge for our market. Some markets are doing preorder and pickup only. That's not my plan at this time to do that."

Also, market hours might be adjusted to open at 8:30 a.m. to allow vulnerable populations to shop for an hour, Stiles said.

Groveport has yet to decide if its farmers market at Groveport Central, 751 Main St., will open as scheduled June 30. Its hours would be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday through Sept. 15.

Mayor Lance Westcamp said a determination on whether to open the market and hold the city's annual July 4 celebration would be made during the first week of June.

A decision is pending on whether Canal Winchester will be able to proceed with its 100th Labor Day Festival, scheduled Sept. 5 to 7.

"I expect the directors of the Labor Day committee to make a decision within the next 10 to 14 days," Mayor Mike Ebert said April 24. "We can't wait too long because we have entertainment, and we have to tell them yes or no."

The event, which features food vendors, arts and crafts, rides, games, free entertainment and a parade, attracts nearly 35,000 visitors to the city's historic district over three days.

Several other events already have been canceled, according to news releases sent April 15.

Destination: Canal Winchester's Art on Canal art stroll had been scheduled for May 16, and the Blues & Ribfest, which draws thousands of people to the city, had been set for July 31 and Aug. 1.

The city's annual tree giveaway set for May 2 was canceled, as were the Kris Sims Memorial Relay For Life dinner May 20 and the Touch-A-Truck event May 22.

All events are expected to resume in 2021.

The city's release said the next Kris Sims Memorial Relay For Life dinner is scheduled May 19, 2021, and dates for the tree giveaway and the Touch-A-Truck event would be determined "later this year."

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