‘As normal as possible’: Pumpkin patches open with COVID safety rules | Local

Many of the activities the farm was able to keep look different this year, Donald said. For example, the corn maze is limited to groups of five people from the same household.

“And you are supposed to wear a mask when you go in,” she said.

The Donalds put up signs to remind visitors to wear masks and stay six feet apart whenever possible. The Patch also hired extra employees to help keep the farm clean. Staff “go out and sanitize” at least once every hour on the hour, and each cleaning is recorded in a log book, Donald said.

The new employees, bottles of hand sanitizer, masks and special signage have raised expenses for the business and “it really added a lot to getting set up this year,” said Donald, whose family has run the farm for 21 years.

The youngest of the area pumpkin patches, R&B Pleasant Hill Farms, also scaled back some activities this year due to the coronavirus regulations. Co-owner Rob Neuschandwer said among the missing attractions is the 30-foot carnival slide that’s usually a fan-favorite for children.

The farm, a fully organic operation now in its fourth year, also canceled all activities with bean bags, including cornhole, because the bags aren’t easily sanitized between users. And the petting zoo was a no-go for 2020.

“But we still have the tractor ride,” said Neuwschander, who offers trips in a tractor-pulled wagon around the four-acre patch. Capacity on the wagon is capped at 50% or members of a single household for safety.

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