Information current

August 4, 2020

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Guidance for farmers’ markets, sales of locally grown or produced food: COVID-19

Farmers' markets and sales of locally grown or produced food

On this page: 

Essential services are those considered critical to preserving life, health and basic societal functioning. Farmers’ markets are essential for food and agricultural service and provide an outlet for people to purchase food and support local farmer and producer livelihoods.

The guidance is based on current recommendations and is subject to change. Markets and farmers are encouraged to be creative by modifying market operations, including:

  • exploring online options for sales;
  • exploring options for deliveries: and 
  • pickup of pre-ordered items at markets or at alternate pickup locations, including farm gate.

Prepackaged or boxed items at a fixed price are good ways to reduce contact when selling your locally grown products farm gate or selling at markets.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, farmers’ market operators and vendors are expected to comply with recommendations and orders from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH). These recommendations include limiting the number of people present in an area, practising safe physical distancing, providing hand-washing facilities, and increasing cleaning and disinfection.

Restrictions on sales and service at farmers’ markets

1. Food items and take-away meals from food carts and food trucks may be sold at a farmers’ market. This includes low risk foods prepared at home.

Vendors may sell:

  • non-food items such as art, candles, clothing, crafts, flowers, jewellery, soaps, etc.
  • fresh whole fruits and vegetables;
  • edible plants and seedlings;
  • frozen ready-to-eat pre-packaged foods (for example, pies, samosas, meals);
  • frozen pre-packaged meats from approved sources; 
  • honey, jams, jellies;
  • home-prepared low risk foods as identified in the Guidelines for Operation of a Temporary Food Service;
  • higher risk foods prepared and packaged in a commercial kitchen or other approved facility (for example, dairy products, fermented foods); and
  • pre-packaged take-away meals from food carts and food trucks.
  1. Markets must discontinue all food sampling activities.
  2.  Markets must cancel any activities that promote gatherings.
  3. Markets must not have any play areas for children.
  4. Market vendors selling ready-to-eat foods must package foods into take-away containers or brown bags and post signs advising customers to comply with physical distancing requirements.
  5. Markets must increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection. This includes increased cleaning and disinfection of washroom areas every 2 hours and high touch surfaces (for example, door handles and faucet handles) within the market hourly.
  6. Markets must restrict entry to anyone who is ill; vendors, if they are ill, should not attend and customers who are ill should also be advised to not enter the farmers’ market. Download the Information about coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms poster.
  7. As with any foods prepared at home for sale at the market, if you are ill, or someone in your household is ill, do not prepare or package foods, including low risk foods.
  8. Establish pick-up points in farmers’ markets for your online orders (for example, drive-through pick-up).
  9.  Where feasible create cashless payment systems through online orders and point of sale devices in vendor booths.
  10. Online sales are not restricted provided that they don't include high risk foods made in an unapproved facility. Crafts and other items may be sold online.

Physical distancing

  1. Limit entry to farmers’ market area such that a minimum separation of 2 metres between each individual or family group is consistently maintained. This may include cordoning off areas and limiting access to ensure this physical spacing is feasible. A market is not considered a gathering as referenced by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and it is recognised that the total number of persons within a market may well exceed 10 people. Download the physical distancing sign.
  2. Minimize entry and exit points to control the number of customers. A single entry and exit location is the best way to manage the number of customers.
  3. Manage line-ups into the market to meet physical distancing requirements of 2 metres between individuals or family groups.
  4. Direct traffic through the market through the use of chalk or tape markings on the ground, ropes, barriers or other markers as required.
  5. Vendors must set-up with adequate distance between booths.
  6. Create an environment in the market where customers can practise safe physical distancing of 2 metres.
  7. Provide hand-washing facilities and access to hand sanitizers for public and signage to encourage use. Download the hand washing notice
  8. Outdoor dining seating is available. Space tables 2 metres (6 feet) apart. People must sit with family or others in their bubble. The market organizer must post signage. No more than 50 seats may be provided in any one area (for example, covered shelters, gazebos, etc.).
  9. Busking may happen at the market. The market organizer must ensure that it is:
    • outdoors;
    • does not create gatherings; and
    • physical distancing is maintained.
      Buskers must follow the guidance from the CMOH and the 6 steps to staying safe.
       

Note the following requirements as they apply to busking:

  • Ensure you are in compliance with licencing requirements of the City of Whitehorse.
  • Observe physical distancing. Provide visual cues at least 2 metres (6 feet) between yourself and public.
  • If the park, pathway, or location you go to is too crowded, move to a less crowded area.
  • Limit touching of surfaces during your performance. Surfaces such as benches, trash cans or other hard surfaces can be a risk.
  • Do not include members of the public in your performance.
  • Wash your hands frequently and after touching surfaces.
  • Limit gatherings of people in one location.
  • People gathered must maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from one another.

Additional requirements

Food Vendors should respect the following measures to protect themselves and customers:

  1. Contact Environmental Health Services to review these requirements and ensure you have adequate measures in place to operate safely as well as the necessary approval to operate.
  2. Wash hands regularly and thoroughly (minimum 20 seconds) with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hands are not soiled. Download the hand washing notice
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently-touched market stand surfaces or food vending vehicle surfaces regularly, ideally between each customer. Clean to remove dirt and organic material with soap and water. Disinfect with household cleaners or diluted bleach solution of 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach per 1 cup (250 mL) water or 4 tsp (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) water. Ensure a minimum 2 minute contact time and allow to air dry. Make bleach solutions fresh daily.
  4. Maintain physical distancing – keep 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
  5. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  6. Cough and sneeze away from food and use a tissue. Wash your hands immediately afterward.
  7. Do not attend the market if not well.
  8. Prepackage and box products at a fixed price to reduce contact.
  9. Vendors must dispense all food products. Use only single-use containers and utensils or brown bags. No customer supplied containers may be used. Where single-use plastics are banned, customers may provide their own utensils to eat with (e.g., fork, spoon, straw).
  10. Foods from food carts or food vending vehicles must be provided in sealed, or enclosed packaging to customers.
  11. Only individual condiment packets may be provided and must be contained in the sealed, or enclosed containers for take-out purposes.

Market managers and organizers must ensure the following (in addition to all of the above measures):

  1. They contact Environmental Health Services to review this guidance and adapt it as required based on their operation and location.
    Email: environmental.health@gov.yk.ca
    Phone: 867-667-8391
  2. They record the names of all vendors selling at each market day and the records are maintained.
  3. Washroom(s) and/or hand wash station and/or hand sanitizer station(s) is/are available for all customers/vendors to wash their hands as required.
  4. Washroom(s) and hand washing station(s) are properly stocked and frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  5. There is no use of reusable or customer supplied containers in the market.

Do you have further questions?

Please refer to yukon.ca/covid-19 for further up-to-date information on COVID-19. 

Contact Environmental Health Services with questions about food premises and health protection at 867-667-8391 or environmental.health@gov.yk.ca.

If operators, vendors or staff have individual health concerns, please refer to call Yukon’s HealthLine at 811.