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Delaware to reopen farmers markets with new safety measures

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Farmers market opens for the season

The Newark Natural Foods Co-op Farmers Market will open for the season Sunday.

Farmers markets in Delaware are set to reopen later this week after being closed for nearly two months amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials have announced.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture announced the reopening in a statement Monday detailing a series of protocols that would be enacted to help the markets operate safely.

Under the new rules, markets will not be allowed to host entertainment shows or activities and food trucks and prepared food will not be offered for consumption on-site.

“To create a safer environment for all involved in farmers’ markets, they will no longer be considered a social venue,” the statement said.

Instead, the markets will either be walk-throughs or drive-thrus, according to the new rules. All customers will be required to wear face coverings and only two members per household will be permitted to enter. Walkways will be one way and social distancing of at least 6 feet will need to be maintained, the guidelines state. Visitors will not be allowed to handle the items and vendors will instead package all items.

Farmers markets across the state were prohibited from operating in mid-March under an emergency order from Gov. John Carney which limited gatherings and closing nonessential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Agriculture secretary Michael T. Scuse said Monday that the reopening comes as officials “know a lot more about COVID-19” and what measures need to be taken to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Newark Natural Foods plans to open its farmers market on Sunday, two weeks later than normal. The weekly market runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday through November in the parking lot of Newark Shopping Center.

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