A Message From State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball
While New York State’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue, I want to assure our community that farms, food and beverage manufacturers, agri-businesses, operations responsible for animal health, and related support industries are open and are not restricted from operating to provide food for our families and care for our animals. Agriculture and the food supply chain are essential industries (including the wine industry) and exceptions have been made to ensure our vital work can continue.
The Department continues its operations and inspections and is in constant contact with our farms and agri-businesses. We are also encouraging consumers to remain strong in their support of local farms and agri-businesses during this time. It is more important now than ever that New Yorkers know that the State and our agricultural community are working together.
In an effort to keep the industry informed on this rapidly evolving situation, we have provided additional details and guidance on  our website found here . It will be updated as new information is available. Additional information and guidance are also available on the Department of Health’s website found here.
I thank our farmers and our entire food industry for their commitment and contributions to agriculture and for maintaining the work and services that ensure all New Yorkers have access to the food they need.
Governor’s Workplace Restriction Executive Orders Exempts Farms and Agribusinesses
In an effort to further control the spread of COVID-19 in our State, Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order (EO) 202.6 that restricts the number of employees in the workplace. This was followed by an announcement today that workplace restrictions would be increased from 50 percent to 75 percent. Today this was increased to 100 percent.
However, these executive orders exempt food processing, including, but not limited to those supplying goods and services to this industry, such as agricultural operations, agri-businesses, etc. and retail grocery stores, including gas stations and convenience stores, from all restrictions imposed by emergency executive orders issued as a result of this emergency. These Executive Orders exempt businesses, vendors and services who provide goods and supplies to these essential businesses. This Executive Order will go into effect on March 20 at 8 pm. New York Farm Bureau has also petitioned the Governor to include in this exemption for horticulturally-based farm operations, along with equine operations, horse boarding businesses and riding stables. Given the time sensitive nature of their business and animal health concerns.  The letter to the Governor can be viewed here.