Lansing, MI - As Michigan moves into autumn, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding the state’s U-pick, corn mazes and other agri-tourism operations opening up to implement and follow plans to protect themselves and their customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fall harvest in Michigan brings a bounty of delicious food and products highlighting Pure Michigan agriculture. U-pick and other agri-tourism farming operations are part of the foundation of our food supply chain,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director. “These businesses need to continue adhering to specific guidance such as social distancing in the retail and field areas, using masks, and taking the necessary steps to protect public health as they open for the season.”
A couple of key items to note, with the full list available online:
- Operators must have a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it readily available to employees and customers; train employees; and supervise implementation.
- U-pick and agri-tourism operations must screen staff daily for symptoms and those with symptoms should not be permitted to work until they subside.
- The use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings as appropriate for the activity being performed is required and must be provided.
- Limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, and bar any such interaction in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
- Customers must take steps to maintain social distancing in sale and retail areas and in fields. Spacing out guests in U-pick areas is critical to the safety of all guests. A minimum of six feet between guests must always be maintained. This also means avoiding crowds waiting to enter sales or field areas and providing for six feet between each guest standing in any lines.
- Family units should stay together and six feet apart from others. Customers should only be accompanied with family members and should limit the numbers in their groups.
All provisions of Executive Orders 2020-160 and 2020-161 and best practices from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.