During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 many industries were forced to pivot and conduct business differently to protect public health, employees, and employers. The farming industry faced many challenges with shifts in food distribution and helping to ensure the country was supplied with essential products. In addition, agritourism offerings on farms were valued family leisure and recreational activities that replaced other restricted entertainment venues during the pandemic. New Jersey has had a strong offering for family-friendly activities, events, and educational opportunities on farms. Agritourism activities help the public understand and appreciate agriculture in their communities. Community transmission of COVID-19, and Federal and State efforts to slow the spread of the virus, presented significant challenges to agritourism operators. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agritourism Working Group developed assessment checklists to assist farmers in hosting agritourism activities and events during the pandemic. This information was designed to help operators develop business strategies in compliance with federal and state restrictions and safety guidelines. Essential elements of agritourism checklists for COVID-19 guidance included: 1) understanding and complying with State executive orders issued to control COVID-19 transmission, including limits on public indoor and outdoor gatherings, face coverings and social distancing; 2) abiding by safety guidelines issues by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State/local authorities; and 3) evaluating the feasibility and practicality of implementing required or recommended practices to limit transmission of COVID-19. The COVID-19 resources are supplemental to the existing agritourism resources developed by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and all are available at: http://agritourism.rutgers.edu/training.
|2021 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference