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NYC farmers markets stay open with strict new social distancing protocols

sign at union square farmers market
GrowNYC

New York City's farmers markets are officially essential.

On Friday, Governor Cuomo deemed farmers markets an essential business in the city while the entire state goes on pause. As a result, the show will go on for many markets across the boroughs, including the beloved year-round markets that New Yorkers flock to in Union Square and Grand Army Plaza.

However, while many open-air farmers markets remain open to provide New Yorkers with fresh goods from regional farmers, fishers and bakers, GrowNYC has ramped up safety measures to comply with social distancing guidelines.

In order to safeguard the health and well-being of market visitors and staff, they've banned customers from handling produce (only gloved staff), suspended all sampling by vendors, supplied hand sanitizer at every market and barricaded most food from direct public access with plexiglass.

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After shutting down for two days this week, the organization has also come up with some additional precautions, which go into effect today, in hopes of avoiding overcrowding and health risks.

In the days ahead, market-goers will most likely have to wait in line at the entrance for their turn to shop, explains a statement from GrowNYC. "We will be monitoring traffic into and out of the market space and customers may have to wait in line to enter to ensure the safety of everyone," says a representative. 

Farmers Market sign

GrowNYC

On top of limiting the number of customers able to shop at any given time, all vendor tents will be be placed at least 10 feet away from one another. Additional demarcations will also help shoppers stay at least six feet apart when approaching booths to pay. 

line of people waiting at Farmers Market

GrowNYC

Customers are also now encouraged to not use cash.

"Finally, whenever possible, please use card or electronic payment to purchase products. For your convenience, download our app, Union Square Greenmarket, to see which farmers are in attendance and what products are available before you shop!" Union Square Greenmarket adds via Instagram.

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We want to thank all of you for your patience and support during these times. #ICYMI Governor Cuomo's recent Executive Order designated our Greenmarkets and other food access sites as "essential businesses." This means it is critical for the neighborhoods we serve to keep these sites open for as long as we can. It is also critical that we make these spaces as safe as possible for customers, farmers, and staff. In an effort to maintain crowd control and promote social distancing at market, we are implementing some new measures. Going forward, our new hours of operation are 8AM-4PM! The market will have three entrances: 15th Street, 17th Street and Broadway, and Park and 17th Street. We will be monitoring traffic into and out of the market space and customers may have to wait in line to enter to ensure the safety of everyone. Only farm staff will handle products: shoppers can point to what they want and staff will bag it for you. Finally, whenever possible, please use card or electronic payment to purchase products. For your convenience, download our app, Union Square Greenmarket, to see which farmers are in attendance and what products are available before you shop! To read more about the essential services we are providing and the safety protocols we've put in place, please visit the link in our bio. #gmktnyc 📸: @eater_ny

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