VFMA Risk Management Guide for accredited Victorian farmers’ markets

It is the responsibility of the market and stall owners to be abreast of the changes and requirements set forth by the Directions referenced throughout this document.

These guidelines are updated with information relevant specifically to farmers’ market operations. Anyone seeking a full picture of the Workplace Directions, Restricted Activity Directions and Stay Safe Directions should refer to the Department of Health and Human Services website https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19

From the 210715 Table of Restrictions:

Essential retail (includes farmers' markets) is open with density quotients of 1 person per 4 square metres. 

Authorised provider and authorised worker list | Coronavirus Victoria

Authorised Providers
The following businesses can open under circuit breaker restrictions. If their employees are unable to work from home they can leave home to attend work:

  • a supermarket, grocery store, bakery, butcher, fruit and vegetable store or fishmonger; or
  • an indoor or outdoor market, but only to obtain groceries or fresh food; or
  • a restaurant, café, pub, bar or hotel, whether licensed or unlicensed, but only to the extent that:
    • it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or
    • it provides food, drink, accommodation or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence); or
  • a bottle shop; [...]

 

Authorised Workers
Any person who performs work that is essential for the continued operation of:

  • production and distribution of;
    • food and groceries for sale by a supermarket, butcher, fruit and vegetable store, market or fishmonger (including for sale by operators of such premises at an indoor or outdoor market); or
    • liquor for sale at a bottle shop; or
    • medical and pharmaceutical products; or
    • animal food and care products; [...]
  • farming activities and other operations relating to agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation, permaculture, apiculture, grains, fibre production, dairy, flower industry, commercial fishing, aquaculture and livestock;

 

COVIDSafe Principles for business

  • ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)
  • wear a face mask
  • practise good hygiene
  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell
  • avoid interactions in close spaces
  • create workforce bubbles

COVIDSafe Plans

All businesses must have a COVIDSafe plan for onsite operations.

Density quotients

Market stalls can open provided they adhere to the density quotient of one person per four square metres. The density quotient limits the members of the public that are permitted in a space at any one time to the number calculated by dividing the total publicly accessible space (measured in square metres) by 4 and: for an outdoor space, market or retail shopping centre, applies to the total space permitted to operate under these directions. 

A person who owns, operates or controls a market stall, market or retail shopping centre must:

  • Prominently display signage at all points of sale at the Work Premises so that members of the public can record their attendance using the Victorian Government QR code system.
  • Limit the number of members of the public permitted by the density quotient as it applies respectively to the market stall, market or the retail shopping centre; and
  • Comply with the cleaning requirement respectively for the market stall, market or the common areas of the retail shopping centre; and
  • Use reasonable endeavours to implement relevant recommendations by the Victorian Government to manage public health risks arising out of the operation of the facility.

Facemasks

Face masks are mandatory indoors, except at your home. Face masks are mandatory outdoors. You must carry a mask with you at all times when you leave the home in case you need to use it. Face masks | Coronavirus Victoria

Record-Keeping

Where a Work Premises is a market or a market stall,the Work Premises must prominently display signage at all points of sale at the Work Premises so that members of the public can record their attendance using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service

Samples / Tastings

“Under the Third Step of the roadmap for reopening, a person who owns, controls or operates a market stall (whether indoor or outdoor) is permitted to serve food samples, as long as its predominant business is the provision of food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market. Each market stall must comply with the relevant food safety regulations. Kind Regards, Industry Coordination and Recovery, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. djpr.vic.gov.au” 6/11/2020  

Seating

There is no provision for outdoor seating at markets in the current Retail Goods directions. There are specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility.  Markets or stalls wishing to provide seating must read and follow the specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility: Hospitality — food and beverage services sector guidance | Coronavirus Victoria

Signage

Each public entry must display a sign specifying the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in that space at a single time, being the number permitted by the density quotient, rounded down to the nearest whole number

 

Anyone feeling unwell must not attend farmers’ markets

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Organisers

 
  1. Market organisers must be able to count & control the number of patrons on site at any time to ensure they are meeting the density quotient requirements.
    • The density quotient limits the number of members of the public that are permitted in a space at any one time to the number calculated by dividing the total publicly accessible space (measured in square metres) by 4.
    • Calculate how many square metres of public “open space” they can provide between the stalls
    • Adhere to signage requirements and display maximum number of patrons allowed in relevant areas.
    • Limit the amount of shoppers in the market at any one time to ensure 4 square metres per person of useful public open space between stalls at all times.
    • Mark queuing spots to ensure a 1.5 metre spacing between each person in a queue.
    • Monitor flow of patrons in and out to ensure adherence to density quotient requirements.
  2. Market managers must ensure all visitors check in using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.
  3. Market managers should provide clear signage, ground markings and announcements to enforce physical distancing of 1.5 metres
    • Use ground or floor markings to indicate 1.5 metres of physical distancing, especially where shoppers are likely to queue at stalls.
    • Relocate busy stalls including coffee stalls to avoid overlapping queues.
    • Provide regular reminders around the market of personal responsibility to maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres.
  4. Market managers should remind stallholders that socialising among workers has been responsible for the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as carpooling, huddling together or when smoking  
  5. Market managers should ensure they are compliant with current cleaning requirements
    • Cleaning requirements for an open retail facility are described above.
  6. Market managers should ensure stallholders and shoppers are aware of face covering requirements
  7. Market managers should ensure accessible hand washing and/or sanitising facilities are provided throughout the market to stallholders and shoppers
    • Shoppers should be asked sanitise their hands on arrival and exit of the market.
    • Stallholders should be reminded to wash or sanitise their hands regularly.
  8. Where possible, market managers should not allow shoppers to enter the market before the opening time
    • Stallholders must be given time to set up and be ready to serve in a safe and unrushed manner.
  9. Remove (or prevent access to) any self-service or communal condiment or drink stations

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Stallholders 

  1. Stallholders should arrive with enough time to set up the stall with consideration for
    • physical distancing set-up,
    • reviewing new procedures with staff,
    • displaying extra signage as needed.
  2. Stallholders should remind their customers about physical distancing and encourage them to remain at least 1.5 metres apart when moving through the stall
  3. Stalls with multiple staff members should also maintain physical distancing
  4. Stallholders should clearly label produce and prices for shoppers to be able to see to minimise crowding around the stall 
  5. Stallholders should have hand sanitiser or adequate hand wash facilities clearly accessible
    • Hand washing should be practised regularly.
    • Anyone handling the EFTPOS machine should only handle produce if they have washed or sanitised their hands between tasks.
  6. Where possible, stallholders should ensure they are set-up to take card payments
    • Have mobile EFTPOS facilities, all devices are fully charged, with adequate receipt paper.
  7. Where possible, stallholders should avoid handling cash
    • Stall fees should be paid ahead of time by direct deposit.
  8. Samples or tastings
    • A person who owns, controls or operates a market stall (whether indoor or outdoor) is permitted to serve food samples, as long as its predominant business is the provision of food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market.
    • Each market stall must comply with the relevant food safety regulations.
  9. Ready-to-eat stalls should only provide take-away food
    • Stallholders should place takeaway foods on a table or counter for the customer to collect to avoid passing food hand to hand.
  10. It is recommended that stallholders should advise customers that, to minimise transmission risks, they may not handle produce
    • Where possible, delegate at least one staff member to select fresh produce on behalf of customers and place it down for them to pack into their own bag / basket / trolley.
    • Fresh produce should be pre-packaged and priced by the bag where possible.
    • Where possible, one staff member should be delegated to receive card payments - this person should not under any circumstances handle fresh food.
  11. Stallholders must wear face coverings (fitted masks) where required under the facecovering guidelines.


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