FAQ: Fresh Access farmers market operations during COVID-19

Farmers markets are essential businesses and will be open during the stay-at-home order!

Many markets are still planning for how to operate safely and may have pushed back their open dates as they put these plans into place. We will be updating this page as we continue to hear confirmed plans from markets!

Just Harvest is doing all we can to ensure continued access to all. We will still be offering food stamp access, as well as the Food Bucks incentive.

Will farmers markets still be open?

YES! Farmers markets have been declared essential businesses and will remain open as a critical place to purchase food during the stay-at-home order and pandemic. The Allegheny County Health Department has issued guidance and market managers in the region have been following national trends closely to implement new procedures to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Guidance for customers from the county health department includes:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Keep 6 feet away from other shoppers and vendors.
  • Make a list before you go and limit the amount of time you are at the market.
  • Limit the number of people shopping.
  • Please leave dogs at home. (Service dogs welcome!)
  • Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently.
  • Point to the products you want and have an employee package it for you.

Additional changes and precautions markets are taking include:

  • increasing the space between vendors;
  • limiting vendors to food and essential items, such as soap and hand sanitizer only;
  • limits to the number of shoppers in the market at one time (please note: you may encounter a line at some markets – these move quickly!);
  • one-way customer traffic, with a single entrance and exit; and
  • no seating or activities.

The way that these precautions are being implemented will vary from market to market, but all markets are taking the necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of their staff, vendors, volunteers, and customers. Many markets are delaying their open date to June to put new practices into place. Please see the below list of markets and their respective websites for additional information.

Some additional guidance from Just Harvest: Shop for a neighbor if you can!

Can I still use my credit/debit or food stamp card?

Yes, Just Harvest will still be offering our card processing service at all Fresh Access markets this season. However, we will be making some changes to how this process works. Stay tuned for additional information!

Can I still earn Food Bucks by shopping with food stamps?

Yes, we will still be offering Food Bucks for food stamp purchases. In fact, during the pandemic we will be able to increase this match! Starting in May, with the ability to extend to subsequent months, for every $2 spent in food stamps – instead of the usual $5 food stamp purchase – a customer will earn $2 in food bucks!

orange arrow View the 2020 schedule for the 20 area Fresh Access farmers markets and any specific COVID-19 operating guidelines.

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