New protocols to prevent spread of COVID-19
After some hesitation, the Delaware Department of Agriculture will allow farmers markets to open May 15.
The department, using a plan created by the Delaware Farmers' Market Coalition, has nixed the social aspect of the markets.
“Farmers’ markets will not be the same social experience as they were prior to COVID-19, but we hope that Delawareans will utilize the markets as a place to purchase locally produced food," said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse.
Until further notice, farmers markets are solely intended to allow farmers to sell produce, specialty crops and other value-added food items that have been directly grown or raised on a farm or prepared in a permitted on-farm kitchen or cottage-food kitchen. Individual farmers’ markets may choose to implement more specific and stringent protocols, but must follow the minimum issued protocols in order to operate and remain open.
They will no longer be considered a social venue, meaning they will not include social gatherings, entertainment or activities, food trucks or prepared food for consumption on site, on-site food preparation or sampling or demonstrations. Pet will not be allowed, except for service animals.
Farmers markets may operate as walk- or drive-thru. Customers will check in with staff upon arrival to ensure capacity limits are followed. A maximum of two people per household will be permitted to shop. All customers are required to wear face coverings. Entry will be denied to those without them.
All customers will travel through the farmers markets in one direction, entering and exiting through two different and designated points. There will be no doubling back. Staff, vendors and customers must maintain a six feet distance from each other.
In order to reduce shopping time, vendors will not have their product available for people to touch or handle.
Of course, anyone who has been confirmed to have, has been exposed to or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.