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The Single Safest Place To Buy Groceries Right Now

This is the one place shoppers feel safe.
peppers and tomatoes

If you've been experiencing anxiety just thinking about setting foot in a grocery store, you're not alone. Although some major retailers, like Walmart, have implemented new safety protocols to protect shoppers and workers, like controlling crowds and increasing social distancing measures, many local grocers are lagging behind. Which means that every time you go grocery shopping, there's a real threat to your health from others that may be infected with the coronavirus. The CDC and FDA agree that the biggest threat to grocery shoppers are, well, other shoppers who may not be keeping a safe distance or wearing face masks. Which brings us to the one place where keeping a distance and protecting yourself from coronavirus may be easier than in grocery stores: farmers' markets.

Farmers' market season is just beginning to ramp up in many areas of the country, and as the NYT reports, shoppers are expressing a greater feeling of safety when shopping in open-area markets. For one, you're out in the open, circulating air, instead of confined to a small indoor area with others. Another benefit is that the produce you're buying probably exchanged fewer hands to get to you. So while you're staying safe, shopping at farmers' markets allows you to support the local economy by supporting local farmers as well.

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Farmers' markets, of course, are not exempt from new coronavirus safety regulations, and many are implementing strict regulations this season. While for many, visiting a farmers' market was as much of an opportunity to socialize as it was an opportunity to shop for fresh produce, keep in mind that outdoor markets are now an essential business serving people's basic food needs, and lingering for social purposes will be largely discouraged. Here are some of the changes you may see at your local farmers' market that you'll need to abide by:

  • Entrances to the market will be limited
  • Shoppers will need to wear face masks
  • Shoppers will need to keep six feet apart
  • Touching the produce will not be permitted
  • Dogs and other pets will not be permitted
  • Live music will not be permitted
  • Congregating in groups will not be permitted
  • Food samples and prepared foods will not be available

Although some open-area markets have resorted to selling their produce direct to consumer via restaurants and online, the warmer weather and their large-area outdoor format is sure to make them attractive destinations for grocery shoppers soon. Stay informed and get the latest coronavirus food news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more