Fall activities get ‘green light’

Mark Gutman/Daily News file photoKids navigate the pumpkin crop at Pulleys Farm Market in Le Roy. As autumn approaches, corn mazes and similar activities have been cleared to open with precautions.

ALBANY — New guidelines for agritourism businesses across the state were announced by the governor Tuesday, just in time for the start of the fall season.

The agritourism businesses, which include corn mazes, pick-your-own fruit and vegetable operations, hayrides and haunted houses, are considered by the state to be low-risk, outdoor arts and entertainment businesses, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced, and are permitted to operate under New York Forward guidance.

“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,” Gov. Cuomo said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “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.”

Corn mazes, pick-your-own fruit and vegetable operations and haunted houses are permitted in accordance with low-risk, outdoor arts and entertainment guidance, It’s required that these businesses operate at reduced capacity, while face masks are worn at all times and social distancing is maintained between individuals and groups.

Hayrides are permitted in accordance with the state’s public transportation guidance, and it’s required that face masks are worn at all times, social distancing is maintained between individuals and parties of people and frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and sanitized between rides. Petting zoos are not permitted at this time.

“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 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.”

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has issued a full slate of guidelines for the agricultural industry, including guidance for farmers markets and food and beverage producers, which can be found at agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus.

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