ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. — During mandatory lockdowns in the spring, farmers' markets were not considered essential businesses and were forced to close.
Eight months into the pandemic, small businesses that make most of their sales at local farmer's markets are grateful to be back open.
"Our plan is to work here or there and recoup our loss," Tony Martinez, an employee at Milagros Produce, said. "Every Tuesday, as long as everything goes good, you know, they won't shut us down. If they (customers) follow the rules with their masks and stuff like that, we all good."
The first day the market opened was Oct. 13; the market will be open through the beginning of May 2021. So, far vendors say business is profitable.
"It's actually better this year than it was last year. I'm really happy with the turnout, and the city does a great job," Bill Nelms, the owner of Mr. Fun Guy Mushrooms, said. "I think it's real important just for their mental outlook with the pandemic going on to get out here and get some fresh produce fresh products."
This is Nelm's third year at the farmer's market. Nelms said customers feel more comfortable buying their groceries outside from a local vendor than going into a grocery store.
"I'm the first one to say at any establishment, and even outside, I have no problem wearing a mask. I have no problem following the rules cause if we don't, you know where we are going to end up," Carol Holmes, a tourist from New York, said. The people here at the market are being taken care of by the community, and I think that it's wonderful this can still keep going even during COVID."
The City of Anna Maria Farmer's Market is every Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Pier Park, 103 N Bay Blvd.
For more information on farmer's markets click here.