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Groton Farmer’s Market Will Open July 10 With Protocols

by Connie Sartini
At their virtual meeting on Monday night, the Select Board voted unanimously to adopt the following protocols that were developed by Town Manager Mark Haddad, Williams Barn Committee Chairman Leo Wyatt and Conservation Commission Administrator Nik Gualco for the opening of the Farmers Market.
     Wyatt told the Board that this will be a “bare bones market where people will come in and get their vegetables. It supports the farmers that sell here as this is their living.” He added that the bulk of the shoppers are from Groton.
     The Farmers Market is scheduled to open on July 10 and continue through October. Williams Barn will be closed to the public, and that porta potties are available for the sellers only.
General Guidance
     It is the intent of these protocols to address the concerns of the COVID-19 global pandemic while enabling the Groton Farmers Market the opportunity to open during the 2020 Market Season. These protocols require market managers, vendors, and customers to take protective public health measures as well as address the need for changing the culture of the market. To this point, it is strongly encouraged that only one person per household shop at the market. Customers should expect to enter the market and leave as soon as their purchasing is completed.
     Parents/guardians of young children are discouraged from bringing them to the market. No gatherings such as, but not limited to, viewing live music will be allowed. These guidelines coupled with the safety protocols listed below aim to provide an opportunity for the buying and selling of local goods while minimizing the chance for exposure to the coronavirus.
Vendors and consumers should follow the Departments of Agricultural Resources Bulletin (2020-05):
Farmers’ Markets, Farm Stands, & CSAs Guidance Memo #5 and any other subsequent guidelines. 
• General Best Practices:
1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and no handshaking.
3. Stay home from the market when you are sick.
4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
6. Vendors and market managers shall wear face masks
7. When at the market, practice good hygiene by properly washing your hands and sanitizing as necessary.
• Social Distancing
1. Market managers should maintain adequate space between vendors to assist in patron flow and reduce crowding at vendor stations.
2. Market managers should limit the number of customers who can enter the market space at one time based on established occupancy rate (see below).
3. Vendors and customers should continue to maintain a space of at least six feet from one another at farmers markets.
4. A "No Congregation" policy is in effect; individuals must implement social distancing by maintaining a minimum distance of 6-feet from other individuals. Customers should enter the market, shop, and be prepared to leave upon completing all transactions. The gathering of market goers for social purposes is temporarily banned
• Guidelines for Market Organizer
1. Hygiene:
          a. At least one hand washing
station, which shall include but not be limited to portable sinks equipped with soap and paper towels, hand sanitizers and paper towels, shall be made available to vendors and customers, shall be provided.
          b. At least one portable toilet, which shall contain hand sanitizer and be cleaned at least daily, shall be provided. Sanitation will be conducted with personnel, equipment, and material approved for COVID-19 sanitization.
          c. Occupancy of the market shall be set by the Fire Chief.
2. Market managers, staff and vendors must utilize disposable gloves at all times during market/ CSA operations.
3. Keep market staff, vendors and customers updated on market information and safety protocol.
4. As necessary, the Williams Barn Committee will enforce these protocols. Vendors found in violation of these protocols will be removed and not allowed to return to any future Farmers Market during the 2020 Market Season.
5. Prior to the start of any market day, the following will be required by each vendor entering the market:
          a. Vendors shall certify to market organizers that they:
               i. Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours.
               ii. Have not had "close contact" with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic.
               iii. Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.
• Guidelines for Vendors:
1. The offering /distribution of product samples is temporarily prohibited.
2. Minimize the handling of produce and products by both staff and customers including disallowing the touching of produce at vendor tables and sales points.
3. The use of reusable bags is temporarily prohibited until further notice. Vendors may choose to use recyclable paper bags, compostable plastic bags or single-use plastic bags.
4. When appropriate, the use of online ordering via email or pre-bagged orders should be considered by markets/vendors as well as drive-up systems.
5. Cleaning/Sanitization:
          a. Vendors are encouraged to limit the use of tablecloths in order to make it easier to clean and sanitize table surfaces or utilize a sheet of clear plastic over the top of the tablecloth to facilitate increased cleaning and sanitizing of contact surfaces.
          b. Vendors should clean and sanitize their displays, including their tables and items used to display produce in, at the end
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