McCall’s Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Farm is opening this weekend, Sept. 26 and 27, under new restrictions laid out by the governor on Sept. 17.

“As of right now, we have the go-ahead to do daytime activities,” said owner Kevin McCall.

McCall said “one could argue” the Haunted Corn Maze falls under the category of “daytime activities,” but until the farm gets word back from its attorneys, he will proceed one day at time with tentative plans to open the haunted maze and haunted house from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31.

He said there are some are some changes for 2020 which include ticket sales. McCall said all tickets will be sold online at mccallpumpkinpatch.com and that patrons will need to make reservations.

There will also be no field trips to the pumpkin patch this season.

In addition to the restrictions of the public health order, McCall’s Farm also had a semi crash into one of its play houses on July 23. McCall said that the building has since been repaired and should be ready for play once the new slide arrives, which is expected any day. “It’s new and improved!” McCall said.

McCall said the farm has received a lot of community support: “I really appreciate the community and the outpour of support. My phone blew up when the truck accident happened.”

McCall said the farm plans to kick off the season this weekend and will be opening up at 10 a.m. with ticket sales ending at 4 p.m. The farm closes at 6 p.m.

He also said only a handful of activities have been canceled including the petting zoo, Bouncy Jumpers, Pig Races and Tea Time with the Princess.

Activities and areas that will remain open include the Sports Barn, Low Ropes Course, Apple Cannons, Pumpkin Picking, Jumping Pillows, Princess Castle, Giant Slide, Cow Train, Corn Box and Spiderweb.

Mccall's pumpkin patch

Photo courtesy of McCall’s Pumpkin Patch.

Ticket prices are $13.95 per person for the early part of the season and closer to Halloween the price is $15.95 per person. Admission includes entry to the park, most of the activities within the park and entrance to the corn maze and does not include the price of pumpkins. Kids two and under are free.

“Right now the farm cannot operate the haunts because of the governor’s new public health order” and they will keep their website updated for any potential changes and updates, McCall said.

“Things are changing on a daily basis. We are trying but we are not sure. We wish we knew exactly what was happening,” he said.

McCall said that in a normal year, 85,000 to 90,000 visitors come to the farm, which employs “a lot of part-time folks from the area, who also spend their money in the area pretty quickly.”

More on the updated health order

On Sept. 17, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced easing of the state’s emergency public health order, to permit small groups in exercise settings and safe outdoor activities, among other changes.

According to her address, pick-your-own pumpkin patches will be permitted to operate in accordance with Covid-safe practices for agri-tourism businesses.

Agri-tourism businesses are required to adhere to Covid-safe practices for all employers, retail establishments, restaurants and hotels, resorts and lodging. They are also required to “discontinue gaming areas and other such activities where customers may congregate for extended periods of time and/or where surfaces are repeatedly touched and cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use.”

The updated order still requires face coverings, and says all access shall be on “reservation-only basis and must be strictly monitored to maintain capacity and social distancing standards.”

The order also says group reservations may not exceed the mass gathering limit of 10 people. Businesses are also required to arrange for contactless scanning of tickets.

The amended order also says that agri-tourism businesses are to “discontinue haunted houses and similar attractions, discontinue hayrides or other group transportation, no petting zoos, and access to attractions such as corn mazes shall be on a reservation-only basis and must be strictly monitored to maintain capacity and social distancing standards.

The amended emergency public health order, which is in effect through mid-October, will permit youth sports conditioning and skills development, with no more than 10 individuals in any one group, in accordance with Covid-safe practices. Competitive contact play remains off-limits.

In addition, New Mexicans may overnight camp at most state parks in groups of no more than 10. The changes will be in effect Oct. 1.

Ice skating rinks may operate for athletic training and practice by reservation only. Swimming pools may open with no more than 10 individuals in a pool at any one time.

The state’s full listing of Covid-safe requirements for different industries and activities, compiled with the assistance of the Economic Recovery Council and industry leaders, is available online at cv.nmhealth.org/covid-safe-practices/.

New Mexico’s progress in slowing the incidence and spread of Covid-19 has continued, Lujan Grisham said, with the statewide 7-day rolling average of daily cases at 90 as of Sept. 15, well below the “gating criteria,”—or data-driven conditions each state must satisfy before a phased re-opening—target of 168.

The statewide rate of spread, or r-effective, remains below 1, meaning the virus is spreading slower and not exponentially. Although the state’s Covid-19 hospitalizations remain significantly lower than earlier this summer, the southeast region made up the highest percentage of hospital admissions last week, according to the state medical advisory team.

Testing for Covid-19 is free and available to all at Department of Health offices and testing sites, many of which have expanded hours of availability. Information about those sites is available at cv.nmhealth.org.

Tamara Bicknell-Lombardi
Tamara Bicknell-Lombardi

Tamara has worked for The Independent off and on for several years, as an integral part of this family
business. She currently does reporting, manages the ad sales team, and serves as office manager. She is
an artist, working primarily in oil paints.