BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — New year–old favorites. The first second Saturday of the year kicks off tomorrow and residents are gearing up to get their shop on. But as COVID cases climb and public health releases updated guidelines.
"Coming out of the pandemic, even with what we have going on now, people still want to feel involved and connected with their community,” said Shannon Labare Board Chair, Hub of Bakersfield.
Labare–and she’s talking about the first second Saturday of 2022.
Some of the dozens of small businesses that take part in daylong downtown extravaganza –credit it as their busiest day of the month.
With Bakersfield’s population increasing by almost 56,000 people in the last decade, there are many potential customers.
“With new people here, we want to show them and give them a way to get involved and experience the downtown we love--and hopefully perpetuate more businesses to come down here and more foot traffic," said Labare.
When Labare said foot traffic–she means it. Second Saturday is completely walkable. All sites, from restaurants to shops are in the heart of downtown. But with so many gathering indoors and outdoors in one place and covid case rising, public health cautions residents to do so safely.
"Anytime you're out with public, and mixing with others, we ask people adhere to the state's recommendations, which include that extended mask mandate that was put into place and extended until February 15. So, wearing those face coverings is very important, protective measure, and that they are fitted," said Michelle Corson with Kern County Public Health.
That’s why if you’re taking part in second Saturday, it’s important to keep in mind all those health protocols during the pandemic.
"In any case where you gather outdoors or improve the ventilation, that's highly recommended and just being mindful washing your hands and all those protective measures we've been talking about this whole time," said Corson
Labarre said the Hub of Bakersfield, which puts on second Saturday, encourages masks and social distancing. But actual precautions are up to the individual business.
For anyone not comfortable attending in person, there are other options.
"We also have a good online presence, so if you're not able to come actually come downtown, some businesses will go live on our Instagram account, so you can get a sneak peek behind the scenes of what is going on and still feel involved as well," said Shannon Labarre.