A recently amended Executive Order from Governor Northam eases some of the requirements on farmers markets in communities in Phase 3. These include:
  • Vendors and employees are not required to wear face coverings if the market is outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Customers may be provided with self-service options.
  • Sampling is allowed if VDACS guidelines detailed below are followed.

Employees and vendors in customer-facing indoor areas must continue to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. 

Scroll down to read VDACS food safety guidance regarding sampling and the text of the farmers market section of the Second Amended Executive Order Number Sixty-Seven.

The Virginia Farmers Market Association continues to recommend that vendors, farmers market staff and customers wear face coverings at farmers markets to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

VDACS Food Safety Guidance

VAFMA’s Executive Director Kim Hutchinson contacted Dr Jewel H. Bronaugh, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, to ask 1) if customers can pick up and pick out their own produce and items at farmers markets and 2) that sampling no longer has to be pre-packaged and to go-vendors can sample at their booths.

The Commissioner responded that regarding customers picking their own produce and product sampling, “Customers may be provided with self-service options. Facilities must provide hand sanitizer at food lines and require the use of barriers (e.g., gloves or deli paper) when employees or patrons touch common utensils. Food lines must be monitored by trained staff at all times of operation, and serving utensils must be changed hourly.”

Farmers Market Section from Second Amended Executive Order Sixty-Seven (2020)

Text below from the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Governor – Executive Order – Second Amended Number Sixty-Seven (2020) and Order of Public Health Emergency Seven

Farmers markets may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members, as defined below, at all times. Configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.

b. Employees and vendors in customer-facing indoor areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. If the market is outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained, then face coverings are not required.

c. Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted during operation.

d. Farmers markets must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

e. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

View the Full Executive Order