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 during these first few months of our 2020 season.  We continue to review updated medical data, reach out to other farmers market leaders, and pull the latest 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 determined that we could 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. Thanks to our customers and the cooperation of our vendors, our approach has proven successful!

As we move into the summer months and various sectors of our economy begin to reopen at a measured pace, we’ll continue to make adjustments to our operations to accommodate our patrons in the safest and most responsible manner possible.  The market will continue to operate a bit differently while we maintain this commitment.  Here are the latest changes to our operational plan: 

  • The market will move back to its traditional location at Bethlehem Middle School (332 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar) on Saturday, July 4. 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.
  • All customers must wear facial coverings.  This is required for both admittance to and while shopping at the market.
  • 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.  As such, your favorite vendors may be in a different place than traditionally located.  Please visit our DFM community tent if you need assistance.
  • Vendors must minimize the amount of food on display with customer access.
  • Customers will be prohibited from touching vendor products.  Please let the vendors serve you, and ask for assistance if needed.
  • The number of hand washing stations will be increased and hand sanitizer will be made available.
  • Market music will resume effective July 4, 2020, but all other forms of entertainment will remain suspended. Although music will be provided as background ambiance, people are still asked to move through the market and not stop and congregate.
  • Along the same lines, all wooden picnic tables will be available with plastic coverings.  Only members of a single group can use each table at one time and people are asked to limit their time at a table to allow others to use them as well. Sanitizer will be available at each table for mandatory sanitary wipe down after each use.
  • All local chef/cooking demonstrations and sampling will remain 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 reviewed these plans in detail with the Albany County Department of Health, and based on all the data and projections available, all parties agree that keeping the market open to the public is in the best interest of our community and can be done safely if all guidelines are followed.  Our board of directors works diligently every Saturday to uphold these precautionary standards and appreciates your patience, understanding and assistance as we continue to do so. Thank you!