Texas Farmers Markets & COVID-19
Updated April 8, 2020, 2pm
Dear Valued Texas Farmers’ Market Shoppers,
As it currently stands, Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline on Saturdays 9am-1pm and Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller on Sundays 10am-2pm will continue to be open, with major adjustments to our operations in our efforts to keep our food safe and available to the communities we serve. City of Austin and Travis County have officially mandated that Farmers’ Markets are an ‘essential service’ and can remain open to the public. To this end, we feel obligated to continue to serve our communities with access to food during the critical and unprecedented issues we are facing with COVID-19. You can find the City of Austin’s Shelter-in-Place Order, announced on March 24th, 2020 here.
The continuation of the farmers’ market’s ability to supply fresh, local food to the Austin community relies on both our vendors and our shoppers following a critical new set of health and safety guidelines that are outlined below. Due to the need for increased social distancing and strict safety measures, we have canceled all special events, compost drop off, music, availability of hot foods, and have banned the consumption of food on-site. Our market layouts are going to look different and we will now be posting vendor layouts on Fridays here, as well as our regular Fresh at the Market post, in order to help shoppers plan their trip to the market accordingly. Please consider prepaying and pre-ordering your market items from vendors who take advanced orders. View a list of TFM at Lakeline vendors taking pre-orders here. View a list of TFM at Mueller vendors taking pre-orders here.
Please follow us on social media here for further updates: TFM at Lakeline Facebook, TFM at Mueller Facebook page and both markets Instagram page.
This is critical, we need everyone to treat the farmers’ market as you would a grocery store. All food will be packaged to go and we ask that you pick up your products and leave. Do not idle at the market and do not consume any food or beverages on site.
Please read below to understand our shopper guidelines and the steps our vendors are taking to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our local community. If we act safely together, it is less likely that the markets will be shut down in the future. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to our Executive Director, Nena Johnson, at [email protected].
The Team at Texas Farmers’ Market
SHOPPERS ATTENDING OUR MARKETS:
We encourage everyone who is healthy and feels safe to visit our farmers’ markets in order to procure healthy, local food from area farmers, ranchers and small businesses. But we ask that you follow these strict guidelines:
- Please wear a face covering or mask.
- There will be defined entrances at our markets. Customers are ONLY allowed to enter at these designated entry points. TFM Staff will be monitoring the flow of customers into and out of markets. There will be a customer queue at each entrance where customers will sanitize hands before entering our markets.
- Our experience is that the beginning of market is always the busiest time. We encourage customers to come later in the market to avoid crowding, when market is typically slower.
- Additionally, if you have Pre-Ordered items at our markets, we also encourage you to come later to pick up your products to avoid crowding.
- There will be cones at market indicating 6 foot social distancing spacing. Customers must abide by social distancing protocol of 6 feet throughout market.
- Customers will NOT be allowed to linger at market. Customers will shop for their goods and then leave the premises as soon as possible. Do not chat with fellow customers or vendors. Buy your products and move on.
- Sanitize your hands upon arrival at the market and frequently as you move throughout the space. We will have an increased number of handwashing stations and hand sanitizer and all vendors are required to display hand sanitizer in each booth.
- We are instituting 5 ft. of space between each vendor booth. These are not walkways, but distancing measures. DO NOT CONGREGATE HERE.
- Maintain at least an arm’s length distance between other shoppers and vendors, especially while you are waiting in line.
- Do NOT greet anyone at the market with hugs or handshakes.
- Avoid touching your face.
- No hand-to-hand contact will be allowed between vendors and shoppers. Point to the product that you would like, allow the vendor to bag it and set it down on the table before you pick it up.
- Do not hand vendors payments directly. Place cash and credit cards on the table for vendors to pick up. Our vendors are now required to offer a contactless payment option like Venmo or Apple Pay (which allows you to hover your phone, but NOT TOUCH) it over their wifi-enabled reader. If you are able, we encourage you to set up Venmo or Apple Pay on your smartphone before you arrive and use them as a payment method. If you do use this method of payment, please sanitize your phone before you arrive and after you leave the market.
- In an effort to minimize congestion and crowding, and so that shoppers are not distracted by adorable dogs, no dogs are allowed at the farmers’ market unless they are service dogs.
- Anyone who is feeling unwell in any way should stay home.
- Any shopper who is at a higher risk, including individuals who are over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions, should stay home.
VENDORS ATTENDING OUR MARKETS:
We are putting these measures in place with the guidance of the City of Austin’s Health and Safety Precautions which were recently published. TFM and our vendors must follow these guidelines, and the additional guidelines below, to ensure a safe market for all stakeholders, and so that we can remain a viable market outlet for all our valued vendors as we move through and navigate this pandemic:
The following rules are requirements for all vendors:
- No samples of any kind allowed and no communal, self-serve areas.
- Vendors are required to wear a cloth face covering or mask.
- Vendors are required to wear gloves AND wash/sanitize their hands at least once an hour.
- Vendors are required to offer a touchless payment option like Venmo or Apple Pay. Shoppers will still have the option to pay with cash or card if they prefer.
- No hot foods will be allowed at market. Prepared Food Vendors are welcome to bring pre-packaged, chilled product to market for customers to purchase and take home for preparation and consumption.
- Hand Sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) at every booth, provided by the vendor, for customers and employees. Vendors who do not have hand sanitizer available, will be required to breakdown and vacate market.
- All booths will be 5 feet apart to maximize space and minimize clustering from each other, and layouts will reflect this. Our markets will have some layout irregularities as a result. Some vendors will have to move from their typical spots. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we work through this.
- Vendors and Customers are not allowed to occupy the 5-foot spaces between booths.
- TFM will be providing additional handwashing stations at our markets, open to all staff, vendors, and customers.
- No tablecloths, vendors sanitize surfaces at least once per hour;
- Vendors bag items for customers, then put the bag down, let customer pick up bag; same with payment; no hand to hand contact.
- Anyone who is feeling unwell should stay home – employees must be sent home if they exhibit internal body temperature of 100.4 °F or higher.
- Any vendor who is at higher risk, including individuals over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions, should stay home.
DONATE TO TEXAS FARMERS’ MARKET
Right now is a very difficult time for our community. Our farmers’ market team is working incredibly hard to feed Central Texans safely and support the farmers, ranchers and small businesses that sell at our markets. But we need your help to stay afloat!
We are a 501c(4) nonprofit and not like a traditional grocery store where when sales go up, so do profits. Our vendors pay a flat weekly booth fee and we do not profit off of the sales that our vendors make. As the number of vendors attending our markets goes down, so does our operating revenue. But the COVID-19 crisis means that our staffing and supplies needs are going up while our funding is going down. Please consider donating to help us cover the cost of sanitation supplies, signage and increased staff time. We want to continue to feed our community with fresh, sustainable food but we can’t continue to do it without you!
Please help us keep the markets running and donate today!
Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline
Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller