MARYLAND, USA —
Food and agriculture businesses are considered essential businesses under Governor Larry Hogan's Stay at Home Order. Many vendors in Maryland are offering fresh alternatives to busy grocery stores with limited customer capacity.
If you're looking for fresh produce and seafood companies around your neighborhood-- but have no idea what's still open or where -- a new interactive map from the Maryland Department of Agriculture is here to help.
The map lists all the vendors around you, as well as the type of food they sell and the days that they are open. All you have to do is type in your address or zip code and the map will pinpoint your nearest local provider.
In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser required outdoor markets to have waivers to operate and said they no longer qualify as "essential business."
In order to apply for a waiver, "a market manager must submit a plan to the District government at email@example.com to outline how they will operate and enforce social distancing protocols, and that plan must be approved."
Grocery stores and liquor stores are allowed to operate without the restriction, putting farmers like Gale of Deep Roots Farm in Brandywine in difficult situations.
Gale said the move from Bowser could be devastating for her small Brandywine farm, fearing the increased restrictions will only hurt markets that bring fresh produce to food deserts east of the river.
"If you're a smaller market operating sort of ad hoc, you don't have that much capital, you don't have the staff, you don't have the manpower to be able to have X number of people there," Gale said.
As of April 16, Gov. Hogan hasn't announced a restriction like that in Maryland, allowing many vendors to continue selling and relying on their businesses for livelihood. With virtual maps like MDA's, now you can help support them.
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