Direct sales to consumers

The production activities of agricultural and food processing businesses are given priority.

These companies, in addition to permanent or seasonal farmers’ markets, can continue direct sales to consumers. They must implement the precautionary measures and public health guidelines for COVID-19.

Permitted sales activities:

  • permanent or seasonal farmers’ markets;
  • shops or farm stands located on or outside production sites, including self-service farm stands;
  • farm u-pick;
  • product distribution at delivery points.

Conditions to be met

Certain conditions apply to all businesses and merchants selling directly to consumers, regardless of location:

  • No on-site food tasting or consumption is permitted. Food may be prepared and sold on-site, but only for take-out.
  • No entertainment activities can take place (examples: musician, culinary demonstration, mini-farm or inflatable games), including guided tour (walking or driving) that are not solely for the purpose of getting to the picking location.
  • Children’s play areas must be closed, if applicable.
  • No resting or eating areas can be set up (e.g. chairs, tables, picnic tables).
  • Strolling is not allowed.

If your delivery point is in a shop or a private home, the same instructions must be followed.         

Precautionary measures to be adopted

Precautionary measures are to be implemented in farmers’ markets, farm stands, shops, u-pick activities and delivery points.

Access to famers’ market , farm stands, shops, u-pick locations and delivery points

Ideally, an employee should be present at the entrance to give instructions and guide customers, while maintaining a two-metre distance.

Ask customers experiencing cough, fever, or respiratory problems to postpone their purchases.

Social distancing

A minimum distance of two metres must be maintained between all persons, customers and workers, in all shops, farm stands, u-pick locations and delivery points.

Here are the ways to achieve this:

  • Limit, as much as possible, the number of customers on site at the same time and waiting in line.
  • Add markers to the ground or walls (lines, stickers, cones, wooden structures, etc.) to indicate the two-metre distance to be maintained between customers. In shops, put markers in place for lines, at cash registers and at the entrance.
  • Install signs or posters to remind customers of the physical distancing measures to be followed (at the entrance and in the queue).
  • If necessary, designate a person responsible for ensuring that the wait goes smoothly outside. However, this person will have to stand two metres away from the customers. Contact the police (911) if necessary.

If it is not possible to keep a distance of two metres between customers and staff at the checkouts, install a physical separation (transparent solid partitions). In cases where it would be impossible to maintain this distance or to install physical separation, given the large number of customers that may circulate near the checkouts in a day, it is recommended that staff wear a visor covering the face, including the chin.

Wearing a procedural mask and goggles may be an alternative (change the mask if it becomes wet).

Employee and customer hygiene

Ideally, do not give customers access to toilets reserved for staff.

Employees and merchants must have access to soap and running water, the best method of hand hygiene.

Be sure to:

  • promote hand washing by providing employees and merchants with the necessary equipment (running water, soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer solution, non-contact garbage cans, disposable tissues, towels or paper, etc.);
  • encourage adherence to good hygiene and respiratory etiquette (cough or sneeze into a folded elbow or tissue, dispose of the tissue and wash hands as soon as possible).

Handling merchandise and money

  • Avoid touching your face and wash your hands often, especially after handling goods, items or the payment terminal. .
  • Do not offer a packaging service. Instead, ask each customer to package their purchases.
  • Limit hand-to-hand exchanges and favour contactless payments. Ideally, prevent customers from touching the buttons on the terminals and disinfect them regularly.
  • Install an alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance and exit of the market and encourage people to use it.

Ideally, have an employee at the entrance who can give instructions and direct customers, while maintaining a distance of two metres from them.

Cleaning and disinfecting

The following precautionary measures are recommended:

  • Disinfect the area where the customer has touched the shopping or transport cart if such carts are available to customers.
  • Keep payment terminals clean. Ideally, disinfection should be performed several times a day and if the terminal is visibly soiled. Cleaning with the usual products several times a day is also an option (the mechanical effect of the cleaning and the action of the cleaning product are complementary). Ensure that the disinfectant or cleaning product is appropriate for the terminal, as recommended by the supplier.
  • Clean employee and merchant lunch areas after each workday.
  • Wash the clothes worn at the market, distribution points or the farm stand in hot water with the usual detergent after each day.

If an employee develops symptoms

It is preferable to keep the number of workers to a minimum during this pandemic.

In the event that an employee begins to experience symptoms during their working hours, they must be quarantined immediately. The same applies to employees or merchants in a public market. The person must leave the workplace as soon as possible and remain quarantined at home for 14 days. Call 1 877 644-4545

Inform employees and merchants that they should not come to work if they are experiencing symptoms associated with the disease (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms). For more information, go to this page: Answers to questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Please read the Guidance for Industry: What to do when someone tests positive for COVID-19 in a food establishment (PDF 166 Kb) document.

Anxiety and depression associated with COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a special and unusual context. It is normal to experience fear, stress, anxiety or depression.

Ways to improve your situation include being well informed, taking care of yourself and seeking help when needed.

Here are some useful phone numbers for help:

  • Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1 866 APPELLE (277-3553)
  • Info-Social (free and confidential telephone consultation service): 811
  • Au Cœur des familles agricoles (an organization providing front-line services, including field workers, producers and their families): 1 450 768-6995
  • Programme d’aide pour les agriculteurs (PAPA) set up by the Union des producteurs agricoles (allows producers and their families easy access to psychological, social and physical services):
    Phone : 1 833 368-8301
    Website: Programme d’aide pour les agriculteurs (PAPA) This hyperlink will open in a new window.


The terms of this guide may need to be revised if the public health measures that have been ordered or recommended by the governments of Québec or Canada need to be modified based on how the situation evolves.