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The restriction on the types of products that may be sold at Farmers Markets has been lifted.

Markets may operate under either the Directive for Large Indoor Venues or the Directive for Large Outdoor Venues.

Specific requirements include:

-Maximum of 50 customers allowed in the market at one time. Plans are required for any market that wants to increase capacity above 50 persons.

-Lines or cues for entrance, exit, making purchases, or for other reasons must be marked or monitored for maintaining a distance of 6 feet between people.

-Face coverings are required for all persons present, except for children under 10 years of age, who are exempt.

Signs are required at all entrances advising the public not to enter if:

-They have fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell.

-They have had known exposure to someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days.

Signs must be posted at all entrances advising the public that they may wish to refrain from entering if:

-They are 65 years of age or older.

-They have underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma, or weakened immunity

-Hand sanitizer/Hand washing stations must be available at all entrances and exits.


AFMA Farmers Market Recommendations for COVID 19



This document is intended to provide guidance for the following audiences in response to the COVID 19 outbreak: 

• food system leaders and practitioners 

• farmers market managers and operators

• vendors displaced from farmers’ markets

AFMA wants to help farmers market decision makers and vendors navigate the suddenly conflicting obligations of practicing public health and safety while supporting local economies through direct to consumer sales. 


AFMA has recommended all Arkansas farmers markets cease in-person markets until federal and state authorities explicitly deem it safe to resume public gatherings. 

The absence of in-person markets does not mean markets are closed. A great deal can be done in the absence of in-person markets, and with intentional language and strategies, market communities can remain active, support local businesses, and be a vital aspect of social cohesion during a time of crisis. 



Facilitate opportunities for customers to shop with vendors in the absence of in-person markets. 

o   Support vendors as they pivot into new methods of business, such as online payments and delivery. 

o   Share best practices and suggested common language (provided below). 

o   Ensure vendors are accessible to the community by promoting their efforts and communications (e.g., share their Facebook posts).


Maintain a presence within your community by continuing social media or email communications and outreach. Consider the following ideas. 

Host virtual gatherings by inviting social media followers to tune into a live video. 

Share recipes and facts about local food. 

o Stay up to date on resources provided at the national level:

     Farmers Market Coalition:

     Arkansas Department of Agriculture:

    State by state list of SNAP waivers:

    Fair Food Network COVID response:

    FNS Actions to Respond to COVID19:


Use this time to assess and improve market operations. For example, create or refine: 

o   vendor recruitment, application, and onboarding processes 

o   a food access/incentive program such as Double Up Food Bucks 

o   partnerships and opportunities to connect with funders or sponsors

o   branding and marketing tools


Keep abreast of vendors’ challenges and concerns, and connect them with resources if you can. 

ArCOP Facebook 

Embrace this challenge, innovate, and find solutions that address your markets’ and your vendors’ unique needs.



Continue sales through a method that does not require person-to-person contact. 

o   Alternative methods should not involve public gatherings. 

o   Use an online or otherwise electronic process. 

o   To the extent possible, require orders and payments in advance to avoid exchanging cash, credit cards, touching others’ phones/devices, or other unnecessary or unsafe contact. 

o   If possible, deliver products directly to customers’ homes, and leave them at the door. Do not engage in unnecessary or unsafe contact. If delivering products, consider including a delivery fee in the price. 

o   If delivery is not possible, other methods might include shipping (for nonperishable products) or a form of drop-off/pick-up. If allowing customers to pick-up, do not entertain social interactions. Customers must pick-up and leave. 


Maintain communication with customers via email, social media, or other channels.

o   Use common language with your market manager and fellow vendors to send consistent messages (recommendations provided below). 

o   Increase virtual presence with videos, and utilize timely platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. 


Cooperate with your market manager and fellow vendors; comply with your market operation’s and local authorities’ guidance. 


Support and promote your market while making individual sales. 

o   Ask your market manager how you can support market-level efforts. 

o   Use shared language to promote unified messages (provided below). 

o   Be sure to tag/link your market’s Facebook page/website when promoting your business. 


 Follow best practices for food safety, packaging, and cleanliness. Refer to these resources from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture: 

Produce Safety - COVID-19 Health and Hygiene Practices

When to Wash Your Hands

How to Wash Your Hands


Watch the Watch the ArCOP Facebook page, AFMA website page and the ArCOP AFMA emails for regular updates on business issues, federal and state assistance, and more. 

Stay up to date on resources provided at the national level.

Farmers Market Coalition:

Arkansas Department of Agriculture:

State by state list of SNAP waivers:

Fair Food Network COVID response:

FNS Actions to Respond to COVID19:



Establishing a shared language during this time of uncertainty can help facilitate smooth transitions, maintain trust within your community, and uphold the integrity of a market entity. 


For market operators: 

Use messages that assure the community the market is still active, even in the absence of in-person markets. Here’s what one market said: 

o   “The [insert market name] is pausing in-person markets to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible and slow the spread of the coronavirus. In the meantime, we will not be far away. We are taking this chance to connect our community to fresh, healthy food and local goods in new ways. Keep in touch to find out how you can continue to shop local and support small businesses.” 

o   Be clear with vendors, and ask them to use shared language. 


For vendors: 

Be clear with customers that you are complying with market leaders and local authorities. 

“The [insert market name] is not holding in-person markets at this time, but we are still in business. To purchase products, order by/through [describe business method], and we will [deliver to your home]...” 


Avoid words or phrases such as “pop-up market” when describing alternative methods of business to avoid confusion about whether the market entity is operating or not. Stick with words that clearly describe the process, such as “delivery” or “drop-off”. 


COVID 19 Resources and Materials


Resources and Information


Farmers Market Coalition:

Arkansas Department of Agriculture:

State by state list of SNAP waivers:

Fair Food Network COVID response:

FNS Actions to Respond to COVID19:


Best Practices Resources

 Produce Safety - COVID-19 Health and Hygiene Practices

When to Wash Your Hands

How to Wash Your Hands


Finding a Local Grower

Arkansas Grown

MarketMaker Arkansas


Map of Food Access in Arkansas

Clickable Google Map


Farmers Market Coalition Webinar on Physical Redesigning Markets During COVID-19 Crisis

Zoom Webinar link


Information on Direct Sales Software Platforms


Uplift Arkansas:  A Resource for Supporting Local Businesses 

Uplift Arkansas