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COVID-19 Social Distancing Signage for Use at Farmers Markets



Authors as Published

Authored by Theresa J. Nartea, Associate Professor and Extension Marketing & Agribusiness Specialist, College of Agriculture, Virginia State University


The purpose of this extension bulletin is to provide interested extension agents, farmers market staff and vendors with lighthearted and effective examples of social distancing signage for potential utilization at farmers markets in Virginia operating during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In Virginia, farmers markets are considered an essential retail business and are permitted to operate during the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by the State of Virginia Governor’s office with the issuance of Executive Order 53 effective March 24, 2020 until rescinded (Office of the Governor, 2020).

Operational guidance from the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services advises farmers markets to adhere to social distancing practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (VDACS, 2020). Social distancing is the physical practice of keeping a six-foot distance between you and other people (CDC, 2020).

An important key to implementing social distancing measures recommended by governmental officials is the utilization of easy to understand and informative signage. Conspicuously displaying effective signage throughout a farmers market environment to prompt, remind and encourage both vendors and visitors of the importance of social distancing to prevent person-to-person spread of the COVID-19 virus assists in safe market operation during the pandemic.

Market Stand Signage

In this section, different examples of effective and friendly social distancing signage are depicted for the following situations: 1) Wearing a facemask; 2) No touching of produce; 3) Keeping a safe distance from others; 4) Shopping quickly; 5) One customer at a time in booth; and 6) Washing hands and produce.

Signage to wear a facemask

Many farmers markets operating during the pandemic are requiring both vendors and customers to wear a facemask during market events. Encouraging customers, as well as vendors, to wear a facemask to prevent the person-to-person spread of the virus can be a sensitive request. However, the posting of a sign reminding people to wear a facemask is beneficial for the health of the entire market (Figure 1).

This is a sign with a picture of a tomato wearing a facemask with words stating, "Mind your "maters, wear your facemask."
Figure 1. Mind your “maters” wear your facemask sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Signage to Prevent Product Touching

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers market customers could touch and hold their selected products prior to purchase. Now, customer handling of products is no longer considered a safe practice. To prevent customer handling of products, consider the following signage example (Figure 2).

This is a sign with a picture of lettuce leaves and a hand pointing with words stating, "Lettuce help you" and "Point, Don't Touch."
Figure 2. Lettuce help you point, don’t touch sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Signage to Keep Six Feet Distance

To prevent person-to-person spread of the COVID- 19 virus, display signage to remind customers to keep a physical distance of six feet between themselves and other people (Figure 3).

This is a sign with a picture of two beets with an arrow between beets, with words stating, "Please keep 6 feet BEET-WEEN you and others."
Figure 3. Please keep 6 feet beet-ween you and others sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Signage to shop quickly and to permit only one customer at a time in vendor booth

To avoid the potential for customers to congregate around a vendor booth or create a bottleneck while waiting for service, appropriate signage for notifying customers to shop quickly and that only one customer can be at the booth at one time may be helpful (Figure 4, Figure 5).

This is a sign with a picture of carrots and a shopping cart with words stating, "Carrot about others, shop quickly."
Figure 4. Carrot about others, shop quickly sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)
This is a sign with a picture of turnips with a circle with the number one in it with words stating, "Wait your Turnip, 1 person at a time in booth."
Figure 5. Wait your turnip, one person at a time in booth sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Signage to wash hands and produce

One of the most important signs to post is one that reminds customers to protect themselves by washing their hands and purchased produce (Figure 6).

This is a sign with a picture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and a circle with hands washing a strawberry under running water with words stating, "Be sure to wash berry well, wash your hands and produce."
Figure 6. Be sure to wash berry well, wash hands and produce sign example. (Theresa J. Nartea, Virginia Cooperative Extension)

To Access Signage Files

The signage examples discussed in this extension bulletin can be accessed by going to this weblink: and searching the list of publications for this bulletin title: COVID-19 Social Distancing Signage for Use at Farmers Markets. Once you arrive at the specific publication webpage for this bulletin, you can download and print the signage as Adobe Acrobat files (*PDF). The full-size signs are in portrait orientation with printed dimensions of 8.5” wide x 11” high. For further information or to receive additional assistance contact the author directly at


Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 2020. “Social Distancing, Keep Your Distance to Slow the Spread.” Accessed May 8, 2020.

Office of the Governor. 2020. “Executive Order Number Fifty-three Temporary Restrictions on Restaurants, Recreational, Entertainment, Gatherings, Non-essential Retail Businesses, and Closure of K-12 Schools due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Accessed May 8, 2020. Temporary-Restrictions-Due-To-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). 2020. “Guidance for Farmers Markets.” Accessed May 8, 2020.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

May 18, 2020