Governor Hogan’s executive order prohibiting gatherings of 250+ people does not apply to farmers markets.
Additionally, Maryland Department of Agriculture has issued the following statement:
In light of Governor Larry Hogan’s recent actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is directing farmers markets to make their own decisions on whether to remain open or suspend activity on a case-by-case basis. MDA understands that farmers markets are an important source of nutrition for many Marylanders, including those located in food deserts and individuals relying on SNAP benefits. If your market is planning to remain open, we urge you to provide ample access to hand sanitizer/handwashing stations and have a plan in place to promote social distancing among patrons and vendors.
If you decide to run your market, MDFMA encourages you to take preventative, protective measures and adhere to CDC guidelines – social distancing, limited interaction, adding hand washing/hand sanitizer stations when possible. We also ask that you contact your local health departments and heed to your department’s advice.
Maryland Department of Agriculture issued a press release entitled “Farmers Markets Should Continue Operations During State of Emergency.”
You can read the full release here or pasted below.
ANNAPOLIS, MD—The Maryland Department of Agriculture considers farmers markets an essential business and an important source of food for many Marylanders. The department is asking that farmers markets remain open during the current state of emergency.
“Farmers markets play a critical role in providing fresh, nutritious and locally-produced food products to customers across the state—especially those Marylanders who live in food deserts and those who rely on SNAP benefits to access fresh produce,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder.
“It is important that we keep that supply line open while making sure we implement the same preventative measures used in grocery stores and other essential retail businesses.”
In response to the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, markets are urged to make necessary adjustments to promote social distancing; increase access to hand sanitizer/washing stations for staff, vendors and patrons; regularly sanitize any touch surfaces; and consider any operational changes that may reduce the opportunity for infection.
For more information on the state’s response to COVID-19, please visit governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus