COVID-19 Guidance for Concession Stands, Temporary Events, and Farmers Markets

Updated Feb. 8, 2021

COVID-19 continues to spread in Iowa communities. All Iowa civic, business, community, and veteran’s organizations have a responsibility to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is critical that event sponsors, institute safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their staff, vendors, and event attendees. Event and market sponsors should review the latest governor’s proclamation and are strongly encouraged to ensure that safety measures are in place and enforced. 

Farmer’s market and event sponsors, vendors, temporary food establishments, mobile food units, and concession stands are strongly encouraged to:

  • Ensure there is six feet of distance between groups and individuals attending alone; and
  • Implement reasonable measures for the circumstances of each gathering to ensure social distancing of gathering participants, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures as recommended by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

Additionally, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and IDPH strongly recommend that each event sponsor draft a COVID-19 mitigation plan. For events (other than farmers markets) planned with more than 10 food vendors, the event sponsor is encouraged to submit this COVID-19 mitigation plan along with the required event application. The plan should include (1) What rules will be in place during the event, and (2) Who will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing these rules. It is strongly recommended that the event follow CDC guidance and incorporate the following mitigation strategies:

  • Require event staff and vendors to wear masks;
  • Require event attendees age two and older to wear masks;
  • Designate an appropriate amount of staff to monitor and enforce established rules;
  • Post signage at all entrances, prohibiting anyone who has had a fever in the previous three days, been ill, or is visibly showing signs of illness (e.g., coughing or sneezing) from entering the space;
  • Post signage at entrances/exits, instructing all staff, vendors, and attendees to practice social distancing, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands or use sanitizer often; 
  • Designate with signage, tape, or by other means appropriate social distancing spacing for event staff and attendees, including those waiting to enter the event;
  • Notify event attendees through signage to report concerns of social distancing infractions to the event staff;
  • Control entry points;
  • Screen event staff, vendors, and attendees for COVID-19 symptoms, and immediately prevent anyone with symptoms from entering;
  • Train event and vendor staff on employee safety, emphasizing employee health, handwashing, and hygiene practices;
  • Ensure vendors only allow necessary workers in food stands, and prohibit individuals not directly involved in food preparation or sales;
  • Prohibit vendors from offering self-service of food and condiments;
  • Provide easy-to-access handwashing and hand-sanitizing stations for vendor and customer use;
  • If necessary, restock restrooms with handwashing supplies frequently, including soap and paper towels;
  • Ensure at least six feet between each vendor booth, including equipment and storage areas;
  • Clean and sanitize vendor surfaces frequently;
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces including but not limited to restroom doors/handles, handrails, and garbage can lids at least every hour; and
  • To the extent possible, utilize mobile ordering and touchless pay options.

Additionally, if event sponsors or vendors have any alcohol-related inquiries, they may contact the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, and find food industry guidance from the Association of Food and Drug Officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted online.

All Iowans have a responsibility to mitigate the impact of this public health crisis. If your event cannot implement appropriate safety measures, please consider canceling or postponing your event until such time these guidelines can be enacted or are no longer necessary to protect public health.

Concession Stand-Specific Guidance

For additional information and guidance on school cafeterias and school-related concessions, please refer to the School Nutrition COVID-19 Back-to-School Food Safety Resource document provided by the Iowa Department of Education.