The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life. However, farmers’ markets are considered essential and may re-open if they can follow strict social distancing and sanitation guidance.
Below, we have indicated key criteria for operation that we as the Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market (GVFM) will commit to and that we are requiring our vendors to commit to.
One important note is that it is mandatory to have 6 feet between vendors and 6 feet between vendors and customers. This will limit the number of vendors we will be able to have at the market. In addition, there are strict touch contamination rules and customers will not be able to handle any products. This will limit some vendors from displaying their products. Examples may be jewelry, paintings, crafts, clothing, furniture, etc.
Key Criteria for Operation:
- Face coverings will be required in accordance with the health department’s directive.
- Preventing food and touch contamination by market staff/volunteers, vendors, and customers.
- Physical Distancing—providing ways to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between people.
- Communication—clear messaging on market operations to market staff/volunteers, vendors, and customers.
1. Preventing Contamination
The GVFM will:
- Ensure frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and sanitized as often as possible
- Reiterate to market staff/volunteers, vendors, and customers that if anyone shows any signs of illness, they must not attend the market.
- Advise those attending the market in any capacity — customer, vendor, worker, volunteer — to wash their hands upon arrival and upon returning home.
- Set-up non-hand activated, temporary hand-washing or hand sanitizer stations that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Signage that reminds customers to wash or sanitize their hands frequently.
- Ensure that all required vendor booths have handwashing stations, per permitting and licensing.
- Increase the frequency with which staff/volunteers disinfect surfaces/objects throughout the market.
- Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of toileting room and other high contact areas such as payment devices.
- Eliminate eating areas and direct customers to take prepared foods home to avoid crowds.
Vendors will be required to:
- If showing any signs of illness, must not attend the market or prepare or handle food at food establishments or commissary kitchens. If employees are present, the employer must conduct a temperature check and/or symptom screening.
- Wash their hands before arriving, upon leaving, and all other times handwashing is required per food handling and preparation regulations.
- Have hand sanitizer at their booth.
- Ensure that each food booth required by permit or license to have a hand-wash station, has one.
- Vendors required by permit or license to wear gloves, must wear disposable gloves to avoid contamination and/or touching their faces, and change disposable gloves whenever changing tasks as required by food handling and preparation regulations.
- For example: Do not handle money and then handle products using the same gloves.
- Alternately: Assign one person to handle money and another person to handle products.
- Increase the frequency of disinfection of surfaces/objects in their booth, with EPA-approved disinfectants.
- Ensure they only have one customer, or customers occupying the same household, at a time at their booth, and ensure that customers are maintaining 6 ft. distancing.
- Prevent customers from touching products, by bagging for them, not offering samples, consider pre-packaging of prepared foods, or if they bring their own reusable bag, set their order aside to bag themselves.
- Round prices to the nearest dollar to avoid the need for coins in making change.
- Encourage credit-card transactions whenever possible.
- Split duties for payment and bagging between two different people.
- All prepared food should be packaged for off-site consumption in order to ensure customers understand they must leave the market before consuming.
- Consider shielding protection between customer and vendor
2. Physical Distancing and Prevent Community Spread
The GVFM will:
- Use cones, flagging, chalk lines, signage, market volunteers, etc. to mark and maintain 6ft. distances in the market.
- Encourage customers to prepare advance shopping lists to reduce shopping times.
- Have customers remain in their vehicles if lines begin to form.
- Require that customers leave after they have completed their purchases.
- Limit the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet physical distancing guidance.
- Keeping all booths six feet apart to avoid crowding and maximize flow
- Have one entrance and one exit with people flowing only one way through the market.
The Vendors will be required to:
- Use extra tables or barriers to create 6-ft space between vendor and customer.
- Limit traffic to one customer, or customers from the same household, per vendor booth at a time.
- Not allow any food our products to be handled by the customer.
- Post signs asking customers to practice physical distancing and not touch products.
- Use print, radio, broadcast, and social media and newsletters to promote the farmers’ market and updated policies.
- Recommend that all market attendees follow CDC recommendations on minimizing the community spread of COVID-19.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate through these processes.