116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — All vendors at the Iowa City Farmers Market will be required to carry liability insurance after Iowa City Council action this week.
Previously, only grilling vendors were required to carry liability insurance. The Iowa City Council on Tuesday unanimously amended the city ordinance to require that insurance of all vendors.
The vendors will be required to carry insurance to protect both them and their customers in case of potential claims. The amount of insurance will be determined by the city risk manager.
The farmers market vendor handbook for 2022 said the vendor must provide a certificate of insurance naming the city of Iowa City as an additional insured.
During the ordinance’s first consideration last month, City Manager Geoff Fruin said the change was proposed after a review of farmers market operations.
“It’s certainly best practice, and what we found to be common in comparable farmers markets that the vendors also inside the market carry a very common general liability policy,” Fruin said.
Fruin said the cities of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Bettendorf and Sioux City have a similar requirement.
“We didn't do a comprehensive review of all cities, but we wanted to make sure we weren't asking for something that wasn't standard in other comparable size markets,” Fruin said Jan. 18.
Council member Janice Weiner asked if it’s likely vendors already carry this insurance and inquired if this requirement might push out small vendors.
Fruin said it’s likely some vendors already carry the insurance, such as the more established vendors who might go to other markets, such as the one in Cedar Rapids.
The city will watch closely to see if smaller vendors are pushed away or if there are other unintended consequences, Fruin said.
"If we do see that we have vendors that can't make payments, we may have to try to explore some programs to assist them,“ he said.
This requirement will not apply for individuals who might be campaigning, passing out information or children at the kids day market, Fruin said.
Vendor registration for the 2022 market opened on Jan. 3. Interested vendors can apply online at managemymarket.com.
The farmers market season is expected to kick off Saturday, May 7.
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