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State releases guidance for fall family activities

As summer fades into fall, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced guidelines for the agritourism industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Whether you're planning on visiting a corn maze or maybe taking a hayride now that fall is on the horizon, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to make sure families stay safe while having a good time.

The state released guidelines Tuesday for the Agritourism industry, which also includes things like pick-your-own-fruit or vegetable stands and haunted houses. These activities are considered low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment and allowed to operate under New York's NY Forward Guidance

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "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. 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."

Becker Farms told 2 On Your Side apple harvesting and fall activities will begin on Saturday, September 5. On weekends, you will need to purchase tickets online in advance of the visit.

"We won't have wagon rides to the orchard because that would be too close proximity so we are encouraging everyone to put on their walking shoes and to bring wagons or strollers and just have a great day of lots of sunshine and exercise to walk the orchard, walk the trails," said Becker Farms co-owner Melinda Vizcarra.

Vizcarra said since there won't be many school field trips this fall, parents can take their children on educational tours.

"We've actually opened up the educational tours to family groups because a lot of people will be homeschool or their kids will be home for two or three days a week so you can come as a family and do an educational tour," Vizcarra said.

The Great Pumpkin Farm announced Tuesday that it'll open Saturday, September 19. The popular fall event will be celebrating 25 years this season.

To comply with state guidelines, there will not be any amusement rides, most entertainment will be outside and only members in the same party can sit together at picnic tables.

"We are going to have to control the number of people going inside the store and bakery but for the most part with having hand sanitizing stations everywhere and people wearing masks that people should feel pretty safe," said Great Pumpkin Farm Manager Katy Toth.

Those that can reopen are subject to Low Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment and Public Transportation guidance

The state says petting zoos are not permitted.