DFM RESPONSE TO COVID-19

As our community, state and national response to COVID-19 continues in earnest, your Delmar Farmers Market board has been in constant contact preparing for opening day.  We have been reviewing updated medical data, reaching out to other farmers market leaders, and pulling guidance and resources from official agencies.  At this time, we are more committed than ever to uphold our mission to support and connect our vendors with the community. This means we must take a wide view of all stakeholders with everyone’s health and safety as our first priority.

In March 2020, Empire State Development (ESD) released guidance in response to Governor Cuomo’s 100% workforce reduction order (Executive Order 202.8).  This order states that only those lines and/or business operations necessary to support essential services, supplies, or support be allowed to operate and are exempt from these workforce restrictions.  The ESD guidance considers both food-producing farms and farmers markets to be “essential businesses,” which allows such operations to remain open while subject to the restrictions and public health/safety protocols laid out in EO 202.8.

Shortly thereafter, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and NYS Farmers Market Federation released additional guidance to assist markets in complying with EO 202.8.  We were pleased that all the safety measures that we planned to put in place for our 2020 season matched all state/local regulatory guidelines related to all farmers markets during the pandemic.   

With this information in hand, the DFM board has determined that we can safely open the market while maintaining our commitment to provide the public with healthy, locally-produced foods while simultaneously safeguarding our farmers, consumers, and communities from the spread of COVID-19.

However, the market will look a bit different while we maintain this commitment.  Here are the changes you can expect until further notice: 

  • Our official start date will be Saturday, May 16 unless events unfold in a manner requiring us to reconsider or additional federal, state or local government directives are issued that would require us to modify the date. Market hours will remain the same (Saturdays 9 AM to 1 PM).
  • The market will be open to seniors and other high-risk patrons only from 9 AM to 10 AM.
  • The market will be temporarily moved to the parking lot of Elm Avenue Park, 1/4 mile south of the Delmar bypass (Route 32) at the Elm Avenue intersection.  
  • Shoppers within the market will be actively managed to eliminate congregating and to promote social distancing.  A one-way flow of foot traffic and maintaining a distance of at least six feet between customers will be required. 
  • We reserve the right to limit the number of people in the market at one time in order to assure proper social distancing.
  • Food Safety at Farmers’ Markets Guidelines will be rigorously enforced, and all vendors must wear facial coverings and gloves.
  • Spacing between vendors will be extended as much as possible.
  • Vendors must minimize the amount of food on display with customer access.
  • All food must be packaged.
  • All customers must wear facial coverings.
  • Customers will be prohibited from touching or sampling vendor products.  Please let the vendors serve you, and ask for assistance if needed.
  • Prepared food will be sold on a takeout basis only.  There will be no place to sit or eat at the market.
  • All food will be packaged.
  • The number of hand washing stations will be increased and hand sanitizer will be made available.
  • No craft or non-food vendors will be allowed, except for soap or hand sanitizer
  • All forms of entertainment will be suspended. 
  • All local chef/cooking demonstrations and sampling will be suspended.
  • There will be two hand-washing stations available for public and vendor use.
  • No public restrooms will be available.
  • No pets will be allowed.

Our market manager has discussed this plan in detail with the Albany County Department of Health, and based on all the data and projections available, all parties agree that opening the market is in the best interest of the public and can be done safely if all guidelines are followed.  Our board of directors is working diligently to meet these precautionary standards and appreciates your patience, understanding and assistance as we prepare to open on May 16. Thank you!