Safer at home: Phase 3 guidelines for farmers markets

Businesses must strictly adhere to the physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced workplace safety practices provided in the “Guidelines for All Business Sectors” document. Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulated facilities must continue to follow requirements related to prohibiting sick employees in the workplace, strict handwashing practices, and procedures and practices to clean and sanitize surfaces.

During Phase Three, farmers markets should continue to offer order ahead and pickup options. If markets choose to open, they must adhere to the following additional requirements for outdoor service:

Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment or farmers market.

Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick

Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not members of the same household at all times. Configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.

Employees and vendors working at the farmers markets must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.

Provide a minimum of six feet between parties at tables, (i.e., the six feet cannot include the space taken up by the seated guest). Spacing should also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control (i.e. provide physical distancing from persons on public sidewalks).

Provide hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons and employees.

Vendors must use enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices to regularly clean and disinfect spaces and equipment.

Vendors and employees handling money should wash their hands between each transaction.

Best Practices:

In addition to the requirements provided above, farmers markets are encouraged to utilize the following best practices to the extent they are feasible:

Promote no touch or low touch purchasing opportunities by pre-boxing or prebagging food items.

Update your website and social media with detailed instructions so patrons understand the expectations while at the market.

Discourage vendor sampling.

A mobile market could be used to reach communities with low food access but should comply with physical distancing guidelines for customers shopping and follow all recommended hygiene and sanitation protocols.

Encourage touchless payment systems.

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