COVID-19 Market Safety

Safety Protocol

In an effort to keep shoppers, vendors, and market managers as safe as possible while continuing to provide the essential service of providing fresh food to our communities, and to adhere to social distancing requirements in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, FRESHFARM is implementing the following safety protocols at all of our farmers markets. Market managers will remind all market participants to follow these expectations. 

Mask Policy:

All customers are expected to comply with FRESHFARM’s safety rules in order to enter the market space, including mandatory mask requirements. As a private nonprofit organization, FRESHFARM has the right to implement additional safety measures beyond the regulations required by any local or state rulings, in accordance with CDC guidance to ensure public safety at farmers markets.  Due to the fact that it is impossible to maintain six feet of social distance within the market space at all times, FRESHFARM requires every customer to wear a face mask or covering without exception. Customers unwilling or unable to wear a mask will not be allowed to enter the market. Face shields are not an acceptable alternative to masks. Those with medical conditions will be offered alternative accommodations whenever feasible. Children under the age of two are exempt from wearing a mask.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a private business must consider reasonable modifications to their face mask policy in order to accommodate individuals with a disability. However, the business is not required to allow an individual with a disability to enter if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. As such, we reserve the right to deny entry to any individual refusing to wear a face mask for any reason. We will, however, do our best to provide you with reasonable accommodations such as pre-order/pickup whenever possible (view options here). Our ability to offer reasonable accommodations may vary by market location depending on a variety of factors including customer volume and staff availability. 


  • Keep your market visit simple and short; buy what you need and do not linger, socialize, or congregate in the market space. 
  • Households should have no more than one or two people in their shopping group. If possible, leave children and vulnerable family members at home.
  • No pets are permitted in the market. 
  • Wear a mask of some sort before entering the market space, in accordance with the CDC recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings
  • Wash your hands (for 20 seconds) when you enter the market space. We have handwashing stations available!
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other shoppers, especially when in line. Market managers will be reminding shoppers to keep their distance. 
  • Pre-order with your favorite vendors as much as possible for quick and contact-free pickup at the market. If you cannot pre-order, bring your grocery list so you can make your market visit as quick as possible. Find info on how to pre-order and other shopping alternatives.
  • No browsing or lingering at market tents! Aim to get in and out of the market in under 30 minutes. 
  • Try to attend the market later in the day, when attendance is lower. Farmers have plenty of food, so no need to come right when the market opens!
  • If you are sick, or a member of your family is sick, STAY HOME
  • Do not eat any food you purchased in the market space. 
  • Wash your produce and wipe down any packaging with a disinfectant when you get home.


  • No sampling will be permitted at the market, and access to condiments, silverware, cup lids, etc. should be restricted and available only on request. 
  • All prepared foods must be ready to take away to eat off-site.
  • If shoppers purchase ready-to-eat food from you, ask them to eat it at home and not in the market space.
  • All staff MUST USE GLOVES and regularly change them out throughout the day. If you run out of gloves at the market please let the market managers know. We should have gloves available for you at the info tent. 
  • PLEASE regularly sanitize or wash your hands AT LEAST once per hour. We have a limited supply of hand sanitizer at the info tent and markets will have hand washing stations available. 
  • All staff MUST WEAR MASKS of some sort throughout the day, in accordance wit the CDC recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings
  • Assign dedicated staff to manage money only and product only. Consult with market management if you only have one staff member present at market. We want to know so that if you or your staff get busy we can help handle product or run transactions in order to limit the amount of exposure between customers, your product and you or your staff. 
  • ALL PRODUCTS SOLD MUST BE PRE-PACKAGED (packaging does not need to be plastic). Customers MUST NOT be allowed to handle and browse products under your tent. Rearrange your market setup to discourage shoppers from entering your tent. Please ask customers to hold on to returnable packaging (i.e. egg cartons, pint/quart containers, etc) until a later date.
  • Implement contactless pay, pre-order/pickup, and other low-touch or no-touch options as much as possible.  

FRESHFARM Market Managers:

  • We have added hand washing stations at markets, with hand sanitizer available at the market information table.
  • Market managers will enforce social distancing by placing chalk or tape marks at 6 feet intervals to help with line management at vendor tents, and will remind shoppers as they enter the market, and throughout the market space. 
  • We will restrict the number of shoppers in the market when necessary and will limit the number of entry points to the market. Please check specific market details on your preferred market’s page
  • Managers are working with farmers and producers to increase spacing between vendor tents and maintain one-way flow of traffic. We will close off the front of vendors’ tents with caution tape to prevent shoppers from entering. 
  • We have postponed market community events, including music, entertainment, community tables, and sponsor tables.
  • Market managers will wipe down commonly used surfaces, such as the market information table, EBT redemption devices (phones, card swipers).
  • FRESHFARM will continue to offer SNAP processing and matching. Please bring your SNAP card as usual to the information tent. To aid in processing, we will have extra gloves and hand sanitizer available for all to use. FRESHFARM typically collects the coupons that we use to run our food access programs from our vendors at the end of each market; however, given the need for increased social distancing we are asking vendors to bag and date a given day’s coupons for collection in the future. We can also work out arrangements on a case-by-case basis as needed. 

Additional Information