Eastern Market vendors keep shoppers in cars to avoid spreading COVID-19

Vendors maintain social distancing during coronavirus pandemic

DETROIT – On most days, Eastern Market is packed with people, but right now, in the world of social distancing, that isn’t safe. The vendors came up with a way to keep shoppers safe in their cars while they shop to avoid spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The pandemic can’t shut down the country’s largest historic market. Eastern Market does look different these days, though. Vendors are willing to do what it takes to keep the goods moving.

UPDATE -- May 12, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 48,021; Death toll now at 4,674

“We had a line stretched down Gratiot to the Burger King,” Eastern Market Manager Lonni Thomas said.

“We’re selling bacon sausage,” meat distributor Phil Peters said. “We’ve got a variety of steaks here, pork chops. We’ve got National Coney Island, chili, Dearborn, hotdogs, all sorts of stuff.”

Quiona Lane was at Eastern Market on Tuesday.

“Today we got vegetables, produce, and we’re about to go crazy on the meats right now,” Lane said. “We’ve got a little bit of snacks from the bakery. It’s all perfect. We don’t even have to get out of the car.”

She said she comes every week to feed her family of seven. She isn’t going to the grocery store.

“I won’t, because this has everything that we need,” Lane said.

She said she loves the no-contact service because she can know she’s keeping her family from getting exposed to COVID-19.

“I’m sleeping comfortably knowing that, and then I’m also sleeping comfortably knowing that any germs that we may have we’re not giving to anyone else.”

Flower day at the market was scheduled for May 17, but that has been canceled. Management is working to reschedule flower day once the stay-at-home order is lifted or relaxed.

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