By Laura Kenny
Amid the COVID-19 business closings and stay-at-home orders, many Pennsylvania horse boarding farms are looking for guidance on how the “Life Sustaining Business” mandate applies to them. At this time, there is no official horse-specific statement from the Department of Agriculture, but when the question was brought up on a call with PA Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, he urged all farm owners to follow the guidance for Farms and On-Farm Delivery
to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It is essential to continue caring for the animals, but beyond that, private businesses may decide individually
whether to allow boarder visits. He suggested that businesses seek legal counsel before making a decision.
The Secretary also encouraged any boarding businesses that do allow boarder visits to offer scheduled appointments for anyone who visits the farm, including boarders, farriers, veterinarians, etc. Some managers are utilizing online scheduling tools to allot time blocks. All visitors must practice social distancing (at least 6 feet between people at all times) and good cleaning measures. This may be a good solution for self-care boarding facilities where closing to boarders is not an option.
Governor Wolf’s statewide mitigation effort
suggests no more than 10 people together at one time, so that would be an appropriate guide for the maximum number of people at the farm at any given time. Residents of the 33 counties under the Stay-at-Home orders (Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York as of 3/31/2020) should not visit their boarding facilities except to perform “Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies…” through at least April 30.
If you are a boarder, please respect the decision your barn owner has made to close or stay open. There may be issues with liability insurance if they allow visitors onto the farm during this pandemic. At the end of the day, it is their property (perhaps even their home), and they are trying to keep their families and employees safe.
Source : psu.edu