Street vendors, food trucks, and farmers' markets in the era of COVID-19

In addition to traditional grocery stores and restaurants, street vendors, food trucks and carts, and farmers’ markets have been significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor food vendors may pose less risk of transmitting COVID-19 due to the constant flow of fresh air, and many of these vendors have also implemented solutions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including ready-to-heat meals, pre-ordering systems, delivery or drive-thru options, as well as phone and mobile ordering methods.

Despite these measures to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 at farmers’ markets and street vendors, owners and operators of these businesses face difficult questions that must be addressed before reopening during COVID-19:

  • How can we protect our employees, customers, and passers-by from COVID-19 at a street vendor, food truck, or farmers’ market?
  • What do we do if a customer is sick or not following COVID-19 safety guidelines?
  • How do we assure our employees and customers that we are doing all we can to protect them from the disease?
  • How can fresh foods be protected against COVID-19 while on display for sale?

With these questions in mind, AIHA has created this “Reopening: Guidance for Street Vendors and Farmers’ Markets” guide to offer practical advice for how to operate a food truck, farmers’ market, or other street vendor shop during COVID-19 safely. The guidance borrows from the latest advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as expert advice from other leading health, government, and farmers’ market organizations.

These reopening guidelines share actional steps and recommendations to protect street vendors and customers from the spread of COVID-19, including information on the following key areas:

  • What should a street vendor, food truck or stand owner, or farmers’ market vendor do to protect themselves and their customers against COVID-19?
    • How to enable physical distancing at a farmers’ market or street vendor setting, including the need to provide a minimum of 10 feet between vendors and reconfiguring the market into an “L” shape if possible
    • Ways to limit farmers’ market shoppers from touching products for sale and whether to offer samples during COVID-19
    • Guidance on if pets should be allowed at a farmer’s market during COVID-19
    • Recommendations for how to adjust food truck or street vendor sales during COVID-19, including changes to a vendor’s ordering system and the use of no-touch payment processing
    • Enhanced cleaning practices for street vendors and farmers’ markets, including a list of products approved by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency for use against SARS-CoV-2
    • Advice on how to disinfect farmers’ market food before selling or eating it
    • What to do if a farmers’ market or street vendor employee or customer becomes sick or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19
    • Food preparation best practices for street vendors during COVID-19
    • How to conduct employee wellness checks, including temperature screenings
    • Recommended communication for street vendor staff and customers to educate on how to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19
  • What should a street vendor employee or customer do to minimize the transmission of COVID-19?
    • Self-monitoring best practices for COVID-19 and when to stay home
    • Recommended PPE for street vendor employees and customers
    • Best practices for children at farmers’ markets or street vendors to protect them from COVID-19
    • The importance of regularly washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
    • What to do if you feel the urge to sneeze or cough while at a farmers’ market or street vendor

Download our “Reopening: Guidance for Street Vendors and Farmers’ Markets” guidance document today to learn how to resume street vendor operations during COVID-19 safely.