TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– New York State has issued guidelines for a slew of agritourism-based businesses especially popular in autumn, determining if and how locals will be able to enjoy corn mazes, haunted houses and other staples of the season.

Considering the coronavirus pandemic, hayrides and the like were guaranteed to look a bit different in 2020, although for the most part the state will let them continue.

The only fall activities being barred at this point are live concerts and petting zoos, but otherwise as long as social distancing is maintained and masks are worn when medically possible, most other fall festivities may continue.

Depending on the size and portion of the operation, each activity listed must be kept under 33 percent occupancy at most, including patrons and workforce.

Corn mazes can be offered as long as they are kept to one-third capacity and occupancy is monitored, all occupants wear face coverings, etc. Wagon and hayrides, including those of the haunted variety, are allowed as long as social distancing is maintained and any transportation is conducted with face coverings.

Frequently touched surfaces must be sanitized between rides, and hand sanitizing stations must be placed at pick-up and drop-off locations.

Haunted houses are listed under low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, meaning that so long as there is 25 percent capacity or lower, face coverings and social distancing, they will be allowed to open.

Drive-through haunted houses (and corn mazes) will be allowed with rules that state individuals must remain in their vehicles at all times (except when using the restroom), there’s a single direction flow for cars entering and exiting and no food is served.

More generally, picking operations are permitted to open, including for apples, pumpkins, Christmas trees or other produce, though apples are not to be consumed and disposed on the property of the operation.

Children two years old or younger are not required to wear facemasks.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at