Pick-your-own farm closes after positive COVID-19 tests

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A pick-your-own strawberry farm in North Carolina has temporarily closed after laboratory tests confirmed eight workers tested positive for coronavirus, according to officials.

Rudd Farm said on its Facebook page that it took preventative measures, including having workers wear gloves and masks and using a drive-through service to maintain social distancing to protect customers.

According to the post, one worker said he felt sick and tested positive, and several other workers also tested positive for COVID-19. The News & Record of Greensboro reported that the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed eight cases linked to on-site housing for farm workers.

“We are devastated, but our top priorities are the safety of our workers, our family, and our customers,” the farm said in its post.

Rudd Farm made the transition to a drive-through pickup service two weeks ago that drew hundreds of cars, many of which waited for more than an hour, according to the newspaper. Workers handed plastic pails of strawberries through car windows or loaded them into trunks.

The farm said it has been assured by public health and agriculture officials that there is no concern about food safety because COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness.

By Jim Ellis

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