Berkeley Farmers’ Market Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update on 3/27/2020

As an essential service, the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets REMAIN OPEN, providing fresh, healthy food for the community. We are actively making operational changes to protect customers, farmers, and staff, and to mitigate the spread of disease. 

We continue to follow the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. 

Starting Saturday, 3/28/2020 we will begin queueing customers at the market entrance, if the number of customers already in the market exceeds our maximum crowd count. We will then let queued customers into the market every 15 minutes or when the crowd count has decreased. Thank you in advance for your patience and kindness to market staff.

We need your help to keep the markets safe and healthy for all community members, by following these guidelines:

  • Come prepared and limit your visit time. We ask that you come ready, shopping list in hand, so you can get in and get out quickly. Please treat the market as an essential activity not as a social activity. And, send only one family member if you can.
  • Honor social distancing of six feet while at the market. Give space to those around you, at least 6 feet, while shopping and waiting in line.
  • Observe all posted signage and demarcated lines, which signal where customers should wait, six feet apart, to order and pay for their products.
  • Always stay home if you are sick. Visit the Berkeley Mutual Aid website if you need help with shopping, or ask us which farmers provide CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture box.
  • Wash hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Please consider washing your hands before entering the market. We will have hand sanitizer and public hand washing stations set up by the Ecology Center information booth.
  • Those who are high-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) avoid coming to the market. Email us for the list of vendors providing pre-orders and CSA boxes. We are currently working on exploring new ways to serve high-risk community members and will share more soon.
  • As always, wash your fruits and veggies when you return home.
  • Always cough or sneeze, into your arm or a tissue, away from people and food

update 3/21/20

The Berkeley Farmers’ Markets REMAIN OPEN, providing fresh, healthy food for the Bay Area community. We are actively making operational and procedural changes to protect customers, farmers, and staff and to mitigate the spread of disease, including following all guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The City of Berkeley’s Shelter in Place Order lists farmers’ markets as essential businesses, and yesterday, the Governor issued a Stay at Home Order, affirming farmers’ markets as an essential service.

In addition to quickly integrating the CDPH guidance, here are some additional actions that we are taking to protect our community:
Requiring that our farmers, food vendors, and other market partners adhere to best practices as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the exposure and spread of coronavirus COVID-19:

  • Providing two hand washing stations and hand sanitizer for public use
  • Ceasing food sampling at the market
  • Requiring that all hot food be served to go (no seating); Eliminating self-service options
  • Setting up all booths with additional spacing
  • Asking that vendors control all product as much as possible, for example encouraging pre-bagging
  • Posting prominent signage that encourage shoppers and vendors to practice social distancing of 6 feet from each other
  • Suspending high touch activities at the market, including the Cafe and Kids’ Patch
  • Instituting new precautionary procedures for market staff, including those handling money and other currencies, such as wearing gloves and more frequent hand washing
  • Increasing the frequency that market staff disinfect market surfaces/objects
  • Ceasing all non-essential activities in the market

As we modify market operations for public safety, we ask that customers please join us in helping to reduce the risk of spreading the virus by:

  • Adhering to 6-foot social distancing while in the farmers’ market. Give space to those around you, at least 6 feet while shopping and waiting in line.
  • Observing posted signage and demarcated lines, which signal where customers should wait, six feet apart, to order and pay for their products.
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
  • We will have hand sanitizer and public hand washing stations set up by the info booth.
  • Those who are high-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) avoid coming to the market. Help your neighbors who need to remain indoors, by offering to pick up food and supplies at the market for them.
  • As always, wash fruits and veggies when you return home.
    Cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue, away from people and food.
  • Always stay home if you are sick.

We believe that, like grocery stores, farmers’ markets are vital to our community’s food security and health. We are committed to supporting small-scale farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, and we always accept EBT and offer Market Match.

Our markets are rooted deeply in the community. We thank you for supporting local farms and small businesses, and for your kindness and patience as we all adapt to these changing times.

update 3/16/20

As many of you know there is a Shelter in Place Order beginning 12:01 am on 3/17/20 for Berkeley and the greater Bay Area. Farmers’ markets are currently protected as exempt from this order and WE REMAIN OPEN, as an essential business, a critical access point for fresh, healthy food. You can read the full order here.

update 3/12/2020

Greetings, farmers’ market customers.

As our understanding of the coronavirus (COVID-19) increases, the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. WE REMAIN OPEN and committed to providing you with fresh, wholesome food from local farms, to support your daily living.

Going forward we will continue to monitor local, state, and federal information sites (the City of Berkeley, Alameda County, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a daily basis, and follow recommended guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to Coronavirus for the Berkeley community, vendors, and our staff.
We have taken a number of proactive steps to mitigate possible exposure at our farmers’ markets including:

  • Requiring our farmers, food vendors and other market partners to adhere to best practices as outlined by the CDC to reduce exposure and spread of Coronavirus;
  • Ceasing food sampling at market;
  • Instituting new precautionary procedures for market staff, including those handling money and other currencies, including wearing gloves and more frequent handwashing;
  • Increasing the frequency that market staff disinfect market surfaces/objects;
  • Suspending high touch activities at the market, including the Kids’ Patch;
  • Providing hand sanitizer at info booth for customers, vendors and the public.

For the health and safety of the Berkeley Community we ask that you also take all personal precautions recommended to prevent contraction and spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Those who are high-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) avoid public gatherings
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, with your elbow or with a tissue, which should promptly be disposed of
  • Wash or sanitize hands immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Try new, low-contact ways of greeting your friends and loved ones, including an elbow bump or wave.

We hope at this time of uncertainty that the farmers’ market can remain a pillar for community health and greater transparency in the food system.

Sincerely, The Ecology Center’s Berkeley Farmers’ Markets