Following the announcement of another full COVID-19 lockdown for England, the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) has confirmed that its member livestock marts will remain open and set out updated guidance for their continued operation.
LAA chief executive Chris Dodds said: “Livestock auction markets have been acknowledged as essential and critical businesses in the food supply chain.
“However, we have a responsibility to conduct our sales in a way that minimises the risk to both clients and staff of contracting COVID-19.”
The LAA has set out a series of new guidelines to all of its members, aligned to the latest Government advice.
Markets will adopt changes including that attendance at marts will be restricted to those conducting business, and only one representative per business will be allowed to enter the site; the “drop and go policy will be reintroduced where possible; market sales will be restricted to the sale of livestock, with other auctions postponed or cancelled; all on-farm sales of machinery and/or non-livestock goods will also be postponed or cancelled.
Additionally, marts will ensure strict social distancing, and insist that face coverings are worn at all times.
The wearing of face coverings will not be considered a substitute for the need to maintain social distancing.
Market canteens and other catering facilities will only offer a takeaway service; markets will continue to provide hand washing facilities; and markets will continue to keep a register of all attendees.
Mr Dodds added: “It is imperative that we provide a safe and biosecure environment, as we did during the first full lockdown period, and we encourage buyers and vendors to liaise with their local auctioneer to check the specific safety protocols implemented at their particular market.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their support over the past six months and beyond.
“With your understanding and vigilance, we look forward to continuing to offer all livestock sales through our markets.”