The Ventura College Foundation’s Weekend Marketplace has reopened and will continue to be open every weekend. The Marketplace has been closed since March 14 when social distancing restrictions took effect because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Marketplace will initially have 39 vendor booths and will safely limit customer attendance. Prior to the shutdown, the Marketplace drew about 2,000 shoppers each weekend with 300 to 400 vendors.
For the past several weeks, the foundation has been creating a reopening plan that follows the safety directives of the Ventura County Public Health Department. Vendors will set up six feet apart. They are required to wear masks and gloves, disinfect work surfaces and payment machines, and have hand sanitizers available for the public. Caution tape and markings on the ground in front of each booth will help keep customers and vendors separated. Safety posters will be on display to remind everyone of their responsibilities.
Items that can be currently sold at the Marketplace include pre-packaged baked goods and food, beverages, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies and household supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.
Designated entrances and exits will be strictly enforced. Portable hand sanitizer stations will be available at each entrance that customers are required to use. Shoppers are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
“We need the public’s help to ensure that shoppers, vendors and our staff remain safe at the Marketplace,” says Anne Paul King, Ventura College Foundation executive director. “Wearing masks, practicing social distancing and following all the guidelines posted throughout the Marketplace can really make a difference.”
The Marketplace is at the corner of Telegraph and Day roads in the East Parking Lot of Ventura County. Free parking is available in campus lots and along Telegraph and Day roads. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
“The Marketplace closure in March greatly impacted many in the community who rely on the market for their fresh produce and household items,” says King. “For our vendors, the Marketplace is a major source of revenue. We’re happy that we can slowly take steps to bring it back.”
Prior to its closure, the Ventura College Foundation’s Weekend Marketplace generated $1.5 million annually from space rentals to support the foundation, helping to cover the costs of staff, operations and a portion of the foundation’s core programs including scholarships, the VC Promise and textbook lending. The Ventura College Foundation supported over 5,800 students last year and just awarded 427 scholarships totaling $683,748, the largest annual scholarship distribution in the foundation’s history.
For vendor and shopper information and a full set of safety guidelines, go to https://venturacollegefoundation.org/weekend-marketplace. The public can also contact King (805-289-6503, firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Questions from vendors should be directed to Esmeralda Juarez, Marketplace supervisor (805-289-6062, email@example.com).