During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Davis Farmers Market remains open as an essential grocery provider.

A few community members have expressed concern, but Executive Director Randii MacNear reminds patrons that “this is not Picnic in the Park.” County and state health officials are clear that Certified Farmers Markets are vital to community food security. The market ­– open from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park – is a place to grab fresh food straight from the producer.

“We are grateful for the many customers who have commented by email, phone or social media posts, thanking us for keeping the market open, and for providing a safe marketplace,” MacNear said.

The market has reorganized vendor booth setups and added spacing between sellers. There are lots of signs requesting social distancing, and extra hand-washing stations. MacNear encourages shoppers to come alone to ease crowds.

Attendance has been low and manageable, MacNear reports. It’s an open-air setting with products coming directly from the producer, meaning few people handle it. Sellers wear gloves, and typically select the produce for the shopper. “And I am encouraging diversified farms to put together CSA-like pre-packed boxes for grab-and-go options.”

MacNear said shoppers have been polite, accommodating and quick. They are asked not to linger or eat at the market; communal tables have been removed.

Below are the California Department of Public Health guidelines Certified Farmers’ Markets are following:

  • Space booths to increase social distancing among patrons in line and walking about the market.
  • Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-household members is maintained.
  • Limit the number of customers at a time as necessary to reduce crowding and lines to meet social-distancing guidance.
  • Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of restroom and other high-contact areas.
  • Train sellers and employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Offer additional hand-washing or sanitizing stations throughout the venue.
  • Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that the CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.
  • Encourage activities such as pre-bagging to expedite purchasing.
  • Suspend sampling activities.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning of tables, payment devices and other surfaces.
  • Eliminate non-essential/non-related services, such as bands or other entertainment.
  • At the end of the market, continue to utilize local food recovery systems to feed/donate extra products to populations in need.
  • Continue accepting EBT payment (food benefit cards for those in need).

The California Department of Public Health’s guidance said, “The (Centers for Disease Control), (Food and Drug Administration) and CDPH are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.”

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