COVID-19 Safety Tips for Agritourism Operations

Michelle Infante-Casella, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, Gloucester Co., NJ, Rutgers University,

This article was originally published in the Rutgers Plant and Pest Advisory

Continued community transmission of COVID-19 presents challenges to many businesses, including on-farm agritourism operations. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agritourism Working Group developed farm assessment resources titled, Considerations for Agritourism Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, to assist producers with agritourism activities as part of their on-farm marketing strategies. Considerations listed are designed to help operators evaluate business and management strategies that align with State executive orders and federal/state/local safety guidelines enacted to reduce possible transmission of COVID-19.

Key considerations include:

  • Remain apprised of/and compliant with executive orders issued by the Governor to reduce COVID-19 transmission, including those establishing limits on public indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as requirements for face coverings and social distancing;
  • Monitor guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State/local authorities to reduce community transmission of COVID-19;
  • Clearly communicate farm rules and visitor expectations—prior to arrival and during farm visits—through website and social media posts, promotional materials, staff instruction, and farm signage;
  • Ensure that all farm staff undertake a daily screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and avoid coming to work if they are symptomatic, have tested positive for the virus, or have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Train employees on all personal and farm safety protocols developed to minimize risks of COVID-19 transmission;
  • Organize agritourism activities and manage visitor flows to maintain adequate social distancing on the farm. This includes carefully evaluating farm/attraction capacity limits, identifying areas of anticipated high visitor volume (e.g., parking areas, restrooms, sales areas, foodservice, attraction entrances and exiting areas, etc.), and taking measures to reduce pedestrian “bottlenecks,” large congregations, and cross-flow contact when guests are entering/leaving areas;
  • Instruct employees and visitors to wear appropriate face coverings;
  • Provide adequate and appropriately stocked/maintained hand washing and hand sanitizer stations in key areas (e.g., sales areas, outside restroom facilities, foodservice areas, key thoroughfares, entrances/exists, etc.);
  • Establish regular cleaning and disinfection procedures for frequently touched surfaces or objects;
  • Construct physical barriers, if needed, to reduce potential contacts between staff and visitors (e.g., Plexiglass partitions in sales areas);
  • Explore options for pre-registration to control visitor volumes and pre-payment or touchless payment options to reduce contact between staff and visitors; and
  • Discourage unnecessary customer handling of farm products prior to purchase.

This resource and other tools to help agritourism operators evaluate and strengthen the management of their operations, identify safety concerns and manage liability are available at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station’s agritourism resource site: