From mask requirements to socially distanced trick-or-treating, Webster Groves residents and business owners are finding new ways to celebrate the fall season in light of the current pandemic.
With the summer months coming to an end and the weather chilling, with Halloween and Thanksgiving fast approaching, fall festivities are opening up to the public COVID-19 style.
Summit Produce, located in Kirkwood, opened for the year in mid-April. In a typical season, the business opens in the beginning of April to prepare for the upcoming fall.
According to one of the owners Kristine Clark, opening was pushed back due to COVID-19 precautions, much like other businesses.
Summit Produce offers customers the chance to experience live music and fall-themed delicacies such as fresh-pressed cider, caramel apples and fruit butters.
Watching the progress of the virus cases in Missouri, Summit Produce made safety a priority.
“We talked with the health department and the city,” Clark said. “We found out we were eligible to open because we are grocery.”
Due to the narrowness of the roofed part of the market, social distancing is difficult to enforce.
“We implemented masks for everyone [when we opened], before the city mandate. It was just impossible to social distance unless you were out in the plant lot,” Clark said.
Other safety precautions include hourly bleaching of high-contact areas in the store and scheduled blocks to implement cleaning in the Kids’ Fun Zone.
Summit Produce has experienced “exceptional growth” this season and strives to continue providing a fun fall environment for the public, according to Clark. One resident of Webster Groves, Kalen Mayo, has not let COVID-19 keep her family from the festivities.
Mayo, a mother of two, has already visited the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard with her 3-year-old and 6-year-old. The Mayos intend to make the most out of the holiday season.
“My family and I thought that [outdoor activities] are a safe option because of social-distancing guidelines and mask mandates,” Mayo said.
Melissa Patel, another local parent, describes her fall pandemic experience compared to the spring.
“Six months into this pandemic, I’ve been seeing creative ways [the community] has been organizing activities [and events] in order to create more socialization than in the spring,” Patel said.
For instance, Patel and Mayo’s neighborhood has discussed methods of contactless plans for trick-or-treating. Neighbors plan on setting out candy on tables at the end of driveways with the homeowners 6 feet away.
Both families expressed interest in participating under these conditions, along with wearing masks and having sanitizer wipes on hand.
“I think the community will find joy in many ways during the holiday weekend … the kids will make memories like no other Halloween, which is special in itself,” Patel said.