Popular: The Milk Market is back open, but there will be social distancing measures in place
LIMERICK’s popular Milk Market will re-open this Saturday as restrictions around the coronavirus lockdown continue to be lifted.
Among the businesses allowed to open as part of the phase one loosening, which came into force today, are farmers markets.
And bosses at the Mungret Street facility have, as a result, confirmed they will re-open the covered market this weekend.
Although the news will come as a boost to Limerick, don’t expect to see the normal weekend crowds at the facility, with strict physical distancing measures in place.
There will be a more streamlined offering of farmers market produce, a reduced number of market stalls and a new layout in line with the HSE guidelines.
Milk Market general manager, David Fitzgerald, said: “In common with other essential food suppliers we have had to adapt to the new challenges presented by Covid-19. We have been working since early March on an altered lay-out of our stalls; increased sanitising; and reduced capacity both in stall numbers and customers. In line with Government and HSE protocols for a phased return of food producers providing an essential service, we now look forward to a phased reopening this Saturday with a range of protective measures in place.”
Mr Fitzgerald said he hopes one positive change to come from the coronavirus will be more of a reliance on locally produced foods.
“In addition to the health benefits, buying locally produced food supports the local economy,” the Milk Market boss added.
Entry and exit to the Milk Market will be strictly controlled, while there will be a greater distance between stalls, as well as one way systems.
The upstairs seating area will remain closed and all market seating within the open air courtyard will remain stored during this phase.
Staff will wear protective masks in line with new government guidelines and other appropriate PPE and staff protocols.
“We have increased the frequency of disinfecting, clean down and sanitising of areas within the market and we have installed automated hand sanitisers since March that will continue to be used. Toilets will be closed to the public during this phase as the market returns to a more traditional farmer’s market format of shopping for essential groceries only with the socialising/leisure element of the market temporarily suspended. We have also increased signage on HSE guidelines and hand wash reminders displayed within the market. Our staff are fully trained and aware of all protocols relating to Covid-19,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
He also requested customers to only purchase essential items and maintain a distance of two metres from fellow customers, as well as only remaining inside the Milk Market for the time it takes to buy the produce.