The Boston Public Market reopens Wednesday with new rules due to COVID-19

Customers can dine on a new Outdoor Plaza.

Boston Public Market reopens on Wednesday.
Boston Public Market reopens on Wednesday. –Melissa DiPalma

Shoppers can once again browse seasonal, locally sourced food inside Boston Public Market when it reopens on Wednesday, but the experience will change due to COVID-19.

The market is opening an Outdoor Plaza where customers can eat, and it has implemented plenty of health and safety measures such as mandated masks, social distancing signage, the elimination of self-serve stations and communal tables, and more. The market offers items such as produce, meat, fish, dairy, handmade pasta, spices, and prepared foods, as well as artisan gifts from 30 different vendors.

“Reopening our doors means continuing to support the success of the local businesses at the Market, and providing access to healthy, sustainable food options,” Cheryl Cronin, CEO of Boston Public Market, said in a statement. “Safety is of the utmost importance, and we are confident that we’ve put procedures into place to ensure the indoor market is a safe shopping destination for customers, employees, and vendors alike. While it may look and operate a bit differently now, the market is the same vibrant and dynamic space that Boston knows and loves.”

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A new Outdoor Plaza will provide socially distanced tables and tents with pick-up stations for customers who don’t feel comfortable going inside.

Several of the Boston Public Market’s 30 vendors will offer an online ordering system for immediate or same-day pick up of products. Shoppers who go inside will be required to wear face masks, and anyone without a mask will be denied entry, according to the market. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance, exit, and throughout the market, and hand washing stations will also be available. Guests will follow social distance markers on the floor and travel in one direction through the market.  There will be physical barriers at payment areas where physical distancing is not possible.

There won’t be indoor seating when the market reopens, but officials say they plan to eventually offer small four-top tables spaced six feet apart. Once indoor dining is allowed, customers may remove their face masks while sitting at a table and eating.

Self-serve stations such as salad bars will not be available, and customers will no longer have access to communal areas for condiments and utensils, which will be available upon request or provided in single-serve packaging. Shopping carts and baskets won’t be available unless the individual vendor can sanitize them between each use. There will be no sampling of food inside the building.

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Contracted custodial staff will disinfect high-touch areas of the market such as handrails, tabletops, and doors every 40 minutes, according to the market, and deep clean restrooms frequently. All children’s play areas and community gathering areas will remain closed.

Vendors will screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift and take their temperature. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, he or she may not return to work until testing negative, according to the market.

The market will operate at 50 percent capacity Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at first, and it may add days or hours as officials frequently reassess the situation. The reduced hours allow the market to “make adjustments to operations, further train employees and make any physical improvements that are necessary,” according to the market’s reopening plan.

The pop-up Outdoor Market, which opened this past spring, will continue to operate on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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