You may have already heard that Columbia’s beloved Soda City Market reopened again, sparking a wide array of very controversial opinions on social media.
Will it be safe?
Will people follow regulations and social distancing?
How can we make an event like this work during a pandemic?
While no one loves Soda City more than my family, (pre-COVID, we attended religiously every Saturday), we were also skeptical. So my hubby and I decided to take a peek on the first Saturday they reopened to see how it would go.
We arrived right at the market’s opening time at 9 a.m., and crowds were low. The vendor booths were spaced out so that every other booth space was empty, allowing for appropriate social distancing. Every block was outfitted with hand-sanitizer stations, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of attendees and ALL vendors were wearing masks.
Drip on Main, a usual gathering place during Soda City, was closed and no tables were available for people to sit at and congregate around. People were encouraged to grab their goods and move on, which was good to see.
It was a delight to see some of our favorite vendors again, and just nice to walk down Main Street like old times. We picked up our breakfast to-go and some fresh flowers from a few different places and headed out after thirty minutes or so. Crowds were picking up by then, but it seemed like people were still being considerate to wear their masks and social-distance.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by how our first Saturday back was going. However, we won’t be bringing out five-year-old any time soon, as it’s much harder to maintain distance in a crowd with a small child. Most likely, we will give it a few more weeks before we return and carefully watch and see if the safety regulations hold up.