The fall season is coming soon and families can enjoy a cornucopia of favorite activities — with face coverings and reduced capacity among the required coronavirus protocols, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week.
Cuomo announced new state guidance for agri-tourism businesses, including corn mazes, U-pick fruit and vegetable operations, hay rides, haunted houses and Christmas trees.
The businesses are considered low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment and are permitted to operate under, Cuomo said. New Yorkers can also visit farmers' markets and craft beverage trails, which have remained open under state guidance, supporting agriculture and tourism in the state, he added.
"New York State's amazing outdoor attractions and recreational opportunities are a boon for families and communities during the fall season each year, and we want New Yorkers to be able to enjoy this time with their family responsibly and safely," Cuomo said. "The new guidance announced today will ensure that these businesses can open to the public, allowing families to enjoy their favorite fall activities while providing a boost for our farming communities and local economies."
The businesses that can reopen are subject to "low risk outdoor arts and entertainment" and "public transportation" guidance, Cuomo said.
Corn mazes must operate under reduced capacity of no more than 33%, with face coverings and social distancing.
Hay rides may operate with mandatory face coverings; social distancing of 6 feet required between individuals and parties; and frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, must be cleaned and sanitized between rides.
Haunted houses must operate under reduced capacity of no more than 25% with face coverings required and social distancing, according to the DOH's interim guidance for low-risk indoor arts and entertainment.
Pick-your-own fruit and vegetable businesses must operate under reduced capacity, with face coverings required and social distancing maintained between individuals and parties, Cuomo said. In addition, individuals should not be allowed to consume and dispose of apples in the orchard, the guidance said.
Specific to agritourism, the Department of Health's interim guidance for low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment, including U-pick operations and corn mazes, states that the workforce and patron/visitor presence is limited to no more than 33% of the maximum occupancy or capacity for a particular area at any given time.
Food may be offered if done in accordance with the Department of Health's interim guidance for outdoor food services, the guidance reads.
Petting zoos are not permitted. Live concerts are not permitted on-site.
"As one of the nation's top agricultural states, New York traditionally comes together in the fall to celebrate the harvest—from apples to grapes to pumpkins," said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. "This year, while things may not look exactly the same on your favorite farm, I am happy to say we can still celebrate agriculture's bounty and the many family-friendly activities that go with it. With this new guidance, we hope New Yorkers will be able to enjoy some of the best of New York agriculture in a safe and socially distanced manner."