July 14, 2020

Shop at Farmers Markets This Year With COVID-19 Precautions

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is telling consumers that they will be able to shop at farmers markets this year as long as some precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic are taken.  Because the markets are typically held outside, the risk for virus transmission is reduced.

Shop at Farmers Markets This Year With COVID-19 Precautions

Minnesota Farmers Markets are an essential business so they can remain open through any quarantine closures. ¬†MDA has published a guide called Shopping the Farmers’ Market During COVID-19 to help consumers stay safe. The advice is sensible and includes information we have been told before.

First, stay home if you are sick. That’s always important, but especially so now during the pandemic. Wash your hands before and after visiting the market. The farmers’ market you visit may provide handwashing stations.

Clean reusable bags, which can be contaminated with the virus and with foodborne illness pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. Wash cloth bags in soap and water and dry them thoroughly before use. Don’t reuse disposable bags.

Wear a mask. Not only may this action help protect you, it will definitely protect others. You may be infected but asymptomatic and can shed the virus. Think about wearing disposable gloves too, and discard them when you lease; wash your hands when you get home.

Farmers and vendors may post instructional signs around the market. And there may be volunteers that instruct visitors. Some markets may use pre-order or drive-through options rather than letting shoppers walk around the market.

Be patient and expect delays. The market may only allow a certain number of customers in at a time. And remember to stay at least six feet apart from others. If you. can, shop alone, and shop quickly. Know what you’re looking for and avoid gathering in groups. Time and close contact are factors of virus transmission.

Many vendors may only offer remote transactions. Still, bring some cash just in case. And be aware that some food trucks and prepared food vendors may only allow take out and not let people eat at the market.

When. you get the food home, follow these steps. Open packaging, wash your hands, remove the food, toss packaging, and wash your hands again.

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