UPDATE: Business booms at apple orchard threatened with COVID-19 fines

Victory in the apple orchards and the pumpkin patches!

You may recall our story last week chronicling the plight of Scott Lunau of Albion Orchards in Caledon, Ontario. Scott runs a pick-your-own 50-acre apple farm, as well as a small store that sells delectable foodstuffs.

But incredibly, members of the Ontario Provincial Police dropped by the farm, too  but it wasn’t to buy an apple pie.

Rather, they suspected that  maybe  Wuhan virus protocols were being violated…

At the time, Scott says there were perhaps 200 people on his 50-acre farm that is home to apple trees, evergreens, pear trees, and pumpkins and squash. Scott said that the police felt he “might” be in violation of the new provincial COVID-19 rules pertaining to social gatherings which kicked earlier this month (namely, a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.)

But Scott doesn’t host “social gatherings”; he’s a farmer simply trying to make a living.

Grocery store? That's fine. Giant farm? Better send the cops just to be safe

Indeed, how is it even possible that people congregating outdoors on a 50-acre piece of real estate is a supposed health hazard, yet members of the public congregating indoors at a Walmart or Costco (stores that have far smaller footprints) is OK?

The police were also concerned about an old tractor that a child had touched. Alas, there was no one around to immediately “sanitize” the farm equipment (no, we’re not making this up)…

Scott was very stressed out by the police visit, given that he potentially faced a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

But was Scott even running afoul of the rules in the first place? When we dropped by the local OPP detachment in Caledon to seek clarity, we were told to pass along our questions to the local public health unit! And Scott says he spent about four hours on the phone last week asking various government agencies if he was doing anything wrong but still hasn’t received clear answers!

Police visit prompts new business

However, talk about the Barbra Streisand effect vis-à-vis the law of unintended consequences. That’s because this past weekend, Scott was busier than ever. And he says the reason for the uptick was due to the publicity generated by our original story.

And better yet, the cops were nowhere to be seen. After all, there’s probably far more pressing law enforcement issues for them than clamping down on a farmer trying to sell apples.