Current Guidelines for Agritourism Operations in Michigan
(Also see Best Practices in lower section of this page.)
Farm Markets, Roadside Stands, Greenhouses, Dairies & Creameries, Cider Mills and Orchards Open to the public for indoor and outdoor retail sales, curbside pickup and delivery following social distancing guidelines and other measures in accordance with Executive Order 2020-110. Farm markets are also permitted to open restaurant areas at a limited capacity in accordance with Executive Order-114. and Executive Order-149. Please be sure to review this order to learn more about steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and public.
U-Pick and Choose & Cut Operations – May begin opening for the season, following the U-Pick Guidance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Please also review Executive Order-114 to learn more about the steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and the public.
Petting Farms, Educational Farms, Corn Mazes and Agritainment Operations– May open to the public, following social distancing guidelines, limited capacity recommendations, and all other measures in accordance with Executive Order-114 and the U-pick, Corn Maze and Agritourism Operation Guidance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Household groups must be kept six feet apart at all times throughout their visit, and it is recommended that visitors and employees wear face coverings in areas when social distancing is difficult to maintain for the protection of people and animals. Please note, if you are unable to regularly clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces, such as animal feeding machines, fence rails, etc., we recommend that you consider closing those areas off to the public at this time. Additionally, requiring handwashing/sanitizing before and after touching animals is a best practice. Otherwise, please consider allowing viewing of animals only.
Wineries and Cideries – Open for curbside pickup, delivery, and shipping, as well as for retail purchases, tasting and dining, in accordance with Executive Order 2020-114 and Executive Order-143 and Executive Order-149 and Executive Order-160. Please be sure to review the order to learn more about steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and public. Guidelines for Distilleries are the same as above, except they may not ship products.
Farmers Markets – May open to the public following social distancing guidelines and other measures in accordance with Executive Order 2020-110 and Executive Order 2020-114. Please review the COVID-19 Resources provided by the Michigan Farmers Market Association.
Trout Farms – May open for curbside and retail sales of fish, as well public fishing and catch-and-release, per Executive Order 2020-110. Please also review Executive Order-114 to learn more about the steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and the public. Household groups must be kept six feet apart at all times throughout their visit, and it is recommended that visitors and employees wear face coverings in areas when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Wedding Barns and Event Venues – Per Executive Order 110 and Executive Order 2020-115, these venues in Regions 1-5 and 7 may open at this time provided that outdoor gatherings or events do not exceed 100 people and people not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another. Indoor gatherings/events among persons not of the same household may not exceed 10 people. In Regions 6 & 8 (the Upper Peninsula and the 17 most northern counties of the Lower Peninsula), indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people will be allowed, as long as individuals strictly follow social distancing guidelines. Please also review Executive Order-114 to learn more about the steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and the public.
Farm Stays, Bed & Breakfasts, Rental Cottages – May open for guests, in accordance with Executive Order-114 to learn more about the steps that must be taken to protect the health of employees and the public. See the guidelines for lodging facilities from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Best Practices for Agritourism Operations
The following are recommended best practices to implement at your agritourism operation to keep customers, employees and animals safe.
1. Social Distancing
– Ensure six feet of separation between parties or groups - people in the
same party do not have to be six feet apart
- Assign a greeter or monitor to manage customer flow and assist with enforcing social distancing.
- Limit capacity to comply with six feet social distancing
- Install physical barriers at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six feet is difficult
- Consider curbside, drive through and walk-up options for direct market farm operations
- Limit the number of all groups per activity to ensure groups are stationed six feet apart during activities - Petting farms, classes, tours, wagon rides, corn mazes, etc.
- Space exhibits to keep all groups six feet apart - Separate outdoor animal pens or use every other stall in a barn.
- Through signage & verbal instructions, encourage household or classroom groups to stay together, but distant from other groups
- Consider taking timed reservations or assigning times for specific, in-demand activities, such as u-pick or wagon rides, to control the number of guests at one activity at one time.
- Ensure that both employees and customers remain at least six feet apart to the maximum extent possible, including during employee breaks, for example by reviewing floor plans, creating temporary barriers, designating aisles as one-way only, and demarcating queueing distances.
– Close or limit traffic in high-density areas of the operation
- Waiting areas, standing room at check in and check out, restrooms, barns, enclosed agritainment activities, such as bounce houses, corn cribs
- Increase use of online pre-sale ticket systems or reservations to better control traffic
- Develop and mark traffic flow, walking patterns and visual cues for social distancing (both indoors and outdoors)
- Assign a designated greeter or host to manage customer flow and monitor distancing
- Consider establishing an outdoor reception area
- Consider facility reconfiguration to limit touch points
- Limit the number of people at any given time in barns, exhibits and retail spaces
- Consider moving indoor classes, tours and events outdoors to increase allowed capacities, and to provide better ventilation and social distancing capabilities.
2. Sanitation & Hygiene
– Post signage asking customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.
– Conduct frequent cleaning
- Tables between parties
- Restrooms, Portable restrooms
- High touch surfaces, such as:
- Door knobs, handrails
- Point-of-sale terminals, tokens, credit card machines, workstations, keyboards, telephones, pens and counters
- Carts, baskets and hand-pulled wagons
- Gates & latches, fence rails in high touch areas especially around animals
- All activity related equipment, i.e. jump pads, pedal carts, games, corn cannons, apple/pumpkin sling shots
- Animal feeding machines
- Wagons and shuttles, wagon seats and hand rails
- Picnic tables
- Fishing poles, buckets
- Displays, informational boards and push buttons
- U-Pick Supplies, such as saws, clippers, buckets, shears, scissors and flags
- Menus are to be sanitized between each use – use single use menus where possible and digital or online menus and they must be ADA compliant
- Sanitize tables, chairs and benches between customers
- Use best efforts to ensure checkout employees to disinfect their hands between orders to prevent cross-contamination
– Replace wood or cloth activities, games, and exhibits with nonporous,
easy-to-clean surfaces such as glass, metal or plastic.
– Provide single-use, disposable containers for u-pick. To prevent cross
contamination, do not allow customers to bring their own u-pick
– Limit shared items for customers
- Table items (e.g., condiments)
- Recommend using individual dispensers or packets
- Close self-serve food and drink options, like beverage fountains, self-serve coffee and buffets.
- Eliminate free samples and tasting stations
– Provide handwashing stations and/or sanitizing station in outdoor
operations where customers will handle food or produce.
- Require customers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering a u-pick field.
- Require customers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after visiting animals.
- Watch this video on how to build an inexpensive handwashing station for the field.
– Consider closing off high touch surfaces
- Water fountains
- Tactile hand dryers
- "Cut-Out" photo stations
- Lawn games
- Consider closing off high touch activities, i.e. jump pads, barrel trains, if they can’t be sanitized properly and regularly, especially activities made of wood.
- Encourage contactless payments, and limit cash handling. Encourage cash transactions to be processed at self-checkout kiosks when possible
- Use best efforts to provide disinfecting wipes at cash registers and entrance points for customers to disinfect carts and baskets, as well as at other appropriate locations.
3. Personal Protective Equipment
–Employers are required to provide facial coverings to all employees.
–Ensure that all employees and customers wear face coverings, especially indoors.
- Signage posted for face covering policy for guests (requirements for those medically able to wear one). (Refer to MIOSHA guidelines.)
- It is recommended that outdoor employees who interact with customers wear face coverings or face shields, especially in situations where social distancing is not possible.
–To prevent cross contamination, encourage frequent handwashing rather than glove usage, unless gloves are required due to food safety regulations or indicated for use with specific cleaning or sanitizing supplies.
4. Administrative Controls
-Operators must have a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it readily available to employees and customers; train employees; and supervise implementation.
-Employers are required to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms each day, and keep confidential records that the screenings have taken place. This can be through a verbal screening or a written screening, but the screening must be recorded. If an employee reports any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea) or begins to show symptoms during the workday, they should be excluded from the work place.
- Employees must be trained on:
- Work place infection control policies and procedures
- Appropriate use of PPE
- Food safety protocols (if relevant to operation)
- How to recognize symptoms and manage symptomatic customers
- Create a policy to keep symptomatic employees home:
- 3-7 days after fever breaks
- 14 days after isolation due to close contact with symptomatic individual
- Refer to CDC guidelines
- Notify your local health authority for confirmed positive cases. You do not need to notify your local health authority for symptomatic, but unconfirmed cases.
Resources for Assistance:
- American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund
- Small Business Relief Fund
- Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Work Share Program
- Small Business Disaster Assistance Loans
- DTE Energy Assistance Program
- Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders 2020-77 and 2020-71.
- State of Michigan Q&A on Order 2020-
- MDARD FAQs—March 31, 2020
- State of Michigan Coronavirus Website
- MDARD has established an email address for the industry, stakeholders and customers to ask questions and get clarification: email@example.com
- Sample templates for “Critical Infrastructure Employee” letters: Michigan Farm Bureau—Employee Letter in English and Spanish, Farm Employee Transit Letter in English and Spanish
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Resources Compiled by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Farmers Market Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Food & Farming Systems, Farmers Market Coalition, University of Illinois Extension, Purdue University Extension—Navigating the COVID-19 outbreak, Consumer Guide to COVID-19 Outbreak, Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-952-1151.