Wisconsin apple growers prepare for busy season under COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated, Wisconsin apple growers with pick-your-own orchards as well as retail stores are having to rethink their business plans because of social distancing and masking policies. Some are moving some parts of their retail stores outside, limiting the number of people on the orchard property. Signage to remind people to wear masks, wash their hands and stay six feet away others is a common sight.

Dave Flannery, who owns Apple Holler in Sturtevant, said he has already been implementing these policies through their peach-picking season, which started a few weeks ago, and it's been going well so far. He also said they put up clear plastic barriers at cash registers to separate staff and customers, and he will continue to monitor staff for any COVID-19 symptoms, including taking their temperature at the beginning of each shift.

Eu.wisfarmer.com quoted him as saying: "We're telling everybody ... that we require social distancing, we require masks, hand washing when they arrive and the use of hand sanitizer when hand washing is not readily available. There's several hand washing stations throughout the farm. I think we're certainly doing what's recommended."

He added that being active outdoors is seen as a safe activity right now. According to Flannery, it's a safe way to spend time with family and close friends while not being cooped up inside, and Apple Holler's 66 acres of fruit trees is more than enough to keep people distant.

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