Market Square Farmers' Market, Mary Costa Plaza, Knoxville, May 2020
This weekend saw the opening of the Market Square Farmers’ Market. A few businesses also opened around downtown, though many either remained closed or continued their carry-out operations. I expect more to open next week and more as we go. There were definitely more people around downtown, but it did not vaguely resemble its pre-corona self.
As a whole, I would say less than 50% of the people I saw walking around downtown wore masks. There seemed to be a distinct difference by age, with people 40 to 50 plus years old wearing masks for the most part, and 30 year olds and below not wearing masks for the most part. Obviously, exceptions in each group, but that’s how it looked to me.
It’s important to remember why we’re wearing masks. It’s a way to protect others. It really doesn’t help the older people to wear masks, if they are in the presence of younger, perhaps asymptomatic carriers. I’m mystified by those who are angry at being asked to wear a mask. It’s simple courtesy in the midst of a pandemic. You are still free.
As for the farmers’ market, attendance was steady, but light. Clearly, as is the case in other businesses that have opened, for them to be busy, more people have to feel comfortable going out and we are not there at this time. Vendors were required to wear masks and shoppers were asked to do so. This was the one spot downtown where the majority wore masks. When I was there, it seemed a solid majority wore masks inside the market.
It wasn’t as true outside the market. People were not standing as close to one another as would normally be the case, but, for the most part, it seemed the masks were removed when they left the market, even if it was only to walk a few feet to get in line at a food truck.
So, for the weekend, it seemed that downtown was not returning to normal. There were still very few people out. Of those who came downtown, most did not wear a mask (except for those at the Farmers’ Market) and many did not practice social distancing. Reports I heard from other areas were worse. Here’s hoping we don’t see a dramatic rise in cases and deaths.
Winners and New Giveaways:
For the giveaway I asked everyone to “like” Knoxville Page on Facebook, donate at least ten dollars to a COVID related cause and send me an email telling me that you’ve done both, along with the amount and cause. It gives us a chance to see how much help we can join together to spread around. Congratulations to Judy Blackstock who won R.B. Morris’ new album, “Going Back to the Sky,” on vinyl, Jeni Weber who won a $25 gift card to Bliss/Tori Mason. Additionally, thanks to Mike Hermann of Tall Man Toys and Comics who donated a $50 gift card to the giveaway. Joseph Barnett is the winner of the Tall Man gift card.
Cumulatively readers who entered contests so far have donated:
$90 to a home cleaner (to not clean the house)
$65 to the Knoxville Service Industry Fund
$165 to Second Harvest (several credited the Vol Piper for inspiring the gift)
$100 to Collection for 12 Sevier Avenue Businesses
$20 to Central Cinema
$20 to Knoxville Zoo
$20 to the YWCA
$20 to Young-Williams Animal Shelter
$10 to the United Way Covid Response
$100 to the UT Vet College Assistance Care Fund
$5 for PPE for Health Care Workers in New England
$5 to the CDC COVID Relief Fund
$25 for a Union Avenue Gift Card
$15 to Ruby Tuesday’s Fund to Purchase Lunch for a frontline worker
$15 for a first responder’s lunch
$30 to a musician who appeared on the Blue Plate Special
1 Local Love Box Purchased
$20 to Project Be Kind
$15 to Children, Inc. COVID-19 Response Fund
$300 Knoxville Interfaith Clinic
$200 to With Love From Harlan
$50 to the East Knox Free Medical Clinic
Total Given: $1290
Thank you to everyone who entered and donated. This week I’m purchasing a $25 gift card to Barley’s and another $25 gift card to Tree and Vine. To enter send an email to KnoxvilleUrbanGuy@gmail.com with the subject header “Barley’s Gift Card Giveaway” or “Tree and Vine Gift Card Giveaway,” depending on which you want to enter. The deadline to enter is midnight Friday night.
Same rules as before: “like” Knoxville Page on Facebook to help us help local businesses and donate at least $10 to something supporting COVID efforts or to someone impacted by the pandemic. Confirm in the email that you’ve done both and tell me how much and to whom you donated. Each entry requires its own donation. If you cannot donate at this time, enter anyway and just say so. It’s all good. The contest runs until midnight Friday night.
In the meantime, if you’d like to have access to multiple local gift card purchase options at once, visit Knoxville Page. If you’d like to have your business represented there, send me an email at Knoxvilleurbanguy@gmail.com and I’ll connect you up. During this difficult time, all money for gift cards goes directly to the business you choose to support.