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Coronavirus Update: NYC Farmers Markets Open With New Safety Guidelines

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Spring has sprung at farmers markets around New York City.

Twenty markets are open, letting shoppers get groceries without setting foot in a store.

Michael Hurwitz, from GrowNYC, says new safety guidelines are being strictly enforced during the coronavirus pandemic.

"All of our farmers tents are spaced 10 feet apart. We are marking lines for the customers six feet apart for proper safe distancing," Hurtwitz in an interview with CBS2. "For three weeks now, only our farmers could handle the produce, no customers could touch any product - actually, not just the produce, but any product that was at market, whether it's a jar of pickles or an apple."


Face coverings and gloves are now required for all workers, and each vendor is required to constantly sanitize their hands and work spaces.

"Everyone is in compliance. There are reminders," said Hurtwitz. "Customers are reminding one another, farmers are reminding one another. Our staff is doing an incredible job. This does require additional staff, and we have extra staff on the ground constantly going through, reminding people where to stand. I never knew how important chalk would be."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hurwitz says there has never been a better time to support these local producers.

"If our markets were closed, it would be devastating for the farmers that participate. They would be out of business but for the ability to sell through markets," said Hurwitz. "It is vital that these markets remain open. Every dollar that's spent at the market, thats also dollars that are circulating back in rural communities. This is about regional economic development."

PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside NYC's Viral 'Warzone'

Two busy markets at Union Square and Grand Army Plaza are controlling the number of customers who can enter the market in order to keep everyone safe.

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