Access to healthy and affordable food is vital during this confusing and complicated time. Farmers markets are an important part of our community’s food system and farmers are doing their part to provide fresh meat and produce to consumers. According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, farmers markets fall under the same classification as grocery stores and are considered an essential source of food for local communities. Farmers markets that choose to operate during the COVID-19 outbreak are required to follow the same federal or state mandated directives as grocery stores on issues like social distancing or crowd size, if indoors. Also, any restaurant within a farmers market may only sell food to go, at curbside pick-up, or for delivery, which are the same rules for all State restaurants. “The four state-operated markets in Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville are open, along with a number of certified roadside stands and markets,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These outdoor supermarkets are important venues in the food supply chain.” To keep farmers, producers, and shoppers safe, the following guidelines are encouraged for Mecklenburg County markets:
Practice physical social distancing – maintain six-feet distance from other people. Markets should inform customers of these guidelines through signage and volunteers.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The state-run Charlotte Regional Farmers Market continues to operate at 1801 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full list of Mecklenburg County’s farmers markets is available here. Please check their schedules and operating hours since they are subject to change.
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