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New guidelines created for U-Pick operations amid COVID-19

All U-pick operations will have to develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and properly train employees on safety measures surrounding the pandemic.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Two small children walking through rows of apple trees at an apple orchard.

LANSING, Mich. — As summer approaches in Michigan, so does the state’s U-pick season. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this U-pick season is going to look a little different this year.

Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) released protocols for U-pick operations to implement to protect themselves and customers.

“Michigan is home to a wide array of delicious products and these farms play a critical role in our food supply chain,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “As we head into the 2020 growing season and early harvest for some commodities, U-pick operators will need to follow specific guidance such as social distancing in the retail and field areas, using masks, and taking the necessary steps to protect public health.”

In conjunction with executive order 2020-91, all U-pick operations will have to develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and properly train employees on safety measures surrounding the pandemic. U-pick operations will also have to screen staff daily for symptoms.

Along with these guidelines, each operation will need to provide and require the use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face coverings, as well as enhance cleaning protocols.

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