Agritourism businesses in Phase 2 receive guidance; impacts hay rides, haunted houses, etc

Hay rides, haunted houses, and many activities at farms will be limited under statewide regulations put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee.

In the latest update to statewide requirements, Gov. Inslee clarified requirements for agritourism activities to operate in Phase 2 counties and lets activities previously allowed to proceed if they meet the requirements.

Grays Harbor and Pacific County are both currently in Phase 3.

After consulting with stakeholders, Inslee stated that new requirements have been developed for Phase 2 Agritourism under Gubernatorial Proclamation 20-25. 

“Agritourism” is described as linking “agricultural production with tourism in order to attract visitors onto a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for the purposes of entertaining and educating the visitors and generating income for the farm, ranch, or business owner”. 

Examples of agritourism include, but are not limited to;

  • Christmas tree farms
  • u-pick berry farms
  • corn mazes
  • pumpkin patches. 

Each business must adopt a written procedure for operations at least as protective as the specific requirements that comply with all employee safety and health requirements. 

Activities at the location can resume immediately if: 

  1. The businesses or organizations can meet and maintain all requirements, including providing materials, schedules and equipment needed to comply; and 
  2. The businesses or organizations conduct only those activities that are allowed under their county’s phase status. 

General Requirements 

  1. Inform customers they are required to: 
    • Stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 
    • Use cloth face coverings when visiting. 
    • Practice proper physical distancing. 
  2. Whenever possible, operations should be held outdoors or in outdoor covered areas with optimal ventilation. Outdoor operations must ensure six feet of physical distance between customers (except between members of the same household). This may necessitate requiring customers to make reservations in advance or sign up for a specific time slot when they arrive. 
  3. Indoor operations are limited to retail and food service activities. 
  4. Retail and food service activities and required to follow Department of Health’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Farmers Markets (regardless of held indoors or outdoors). 
  5. Payment Handling 
    • When possible, allow mobile, credit card, or other cash-free payment options. 
    • Staff will disinfect check-out counters and payment touchpads at least every hour. 
    • Provide handwashing or hand gel for employees handling payment. 
  6. Provide sufficient hand sanitizing stations for customers. 
  7. Activities such as hay/wagon/train rides, haunted houses, children’s play equipment, live games, farm equipment exploration, inflatable jumping houses, animal viewing, petting areas, paintball, and campfires are not permitted. 

U-Pick and Tree Farm Requirements 

  1. Ensure proper physical distancing of a minimum of six feet, one-way traffic in the fields, as well as appropriate signage to ensure washing of fruits/vegetables before consumption & use. 
  2. Upon entrance & exit to the designated U-Pick/tree area, encourage visitors to wash/sanitize their hands. 
  3. Transportation to fields, such as trains, wagons and trucks is not permitted; however, customers are permitted to drive their own vehicle to the field if permitted by the business. In addition, accommodations can be made for persons with a disability. 
  4. Shared equipment, such as wheelbarrows and saws, must be sanitized between uses. 

Agritourism businesses are permitted to operate, provided all requirements are met. 

Activities within Phase 3 counties, such as those in Grays Harbor and Pacific County, are required to follow all current statewide requirements related to operation.