As the Scottish Government continues to work to its route map through and out of the crisis that was updated on 29th May 2020, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland Executive Director, Neil Wilson, has reminded all customers of Scotland’s auction marts that the current guidelines remain very firmly in place:
“Our COVID-19 Operating Guidelines have not changed, even though the Scottish Government has implemented Phase 1 of its route map. It is crucial that everyone attending our Scottish auction marts continues to observe the current guidelines, especially those around maintaining a two-metre physical distance at all times making sure we protect public health within our marts.
“Since the start of lockdown, auction marts have continued to operate livestock sales, albeit in a much different way to that we are all used to. Amongst the wide-ranging guidelines, vendors are asked to deliver their stock to the mart and head home, buyers are required to pre-register for sales and the number of attendees at marts have been severely restricted.
“However, we have seen our auction marts once again demonstrate their pivotal role in rural economics by ensuring transparent and competitive sales that have continued to deliver a good trade during difficult circumstances.
“Some early restrictions have been eased and our over 70-year-old buyers are now able to attend sales if they must. On 25th May we were also able to allow market canteens to open again to offer takeaway food only.
“IAAS and its members would like to thank all sellers, buyers and stakeholders for their cooperation and understanding to date. We would ask you to keep supporting the auction system by continuing to adhere to the guidelines that we have in place until further notice. This is vital to ensure we all continue to play our part in protecting public health across Scotland.”
A copy of the guidelines is noted below for reference.
IAAS COVID-19 Operational Guidelines
Updated on 25th May to amend guidance around mart cafes opening for takeaway food.
Updated on 12th May 2020 to adjust guidance around Vulnerable People attending marts.
Updated on 21st April 2020 to include the recommencement of breeding sales.
At IAAS our members absolutely understand and agree that our number one priority is to protect public health. This means reducing the spread and infection rate of COVID-19 and helping to manage our vital NHS resources. Our second priority is to ensure we continue to play our part in supplying the food chain.
Marts form a vital link in the wider food chain ensuring livestock from around the country can be fairly and transparently traded between farmers as well as onward to abattoirs and butchers enabling a consistent supply of high-quality primary product into the food chain.
Whilst this is a human health and not an animal health issue, IAAS members can draw on experience from the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and the scare in 2007 relating this to the potential issues we may see in the future.
Following further consultation with the Scottish Government, the guidelines for continued mart operation for all classes of permitted sale is as follows:
- Anyone who has been in contact with a COVID19 case or has been in a high-risk area must not attend sales.
- It is strongly recommended that buyers over the age of 70 do not attend sales. Those who do wish to attend should be encouraged to read Scottish Government health advice in the first instance (NHS Inform Higher Risk Groups). If the individual still wishes to attend a sale, they do so at their own risk and should be reminded of the requirement to maintain the 2m physical distance at all times.
- Anyone displaying any illness or symptoms of any illness or has any underlying health problem must not attend.
- Pregnant ladies and children must not attend sales.
- General public, trade and others not directly involved in sales must not to attend.
Farmers delivering livestock to auction marts
- Deliveries made to marts as normal via livestock trailers/hauliers.
- Hauliers/farmers to unload livestock into pen beside loading bay.
- Mart staff collect required paperwork from driver across biosecurity line or via email (preferable) ensuring maximum social distance is maintained.
- Farmer/haulier to leave premises.
- Mart staff to collect livestock from the loading bay pens and pen up in the mart.
- Vendors MUST NOT take paperwork to mart offices or enter the mart at any time or for any reason.
- It is recommended that hand washing/sanitising facilities are available at loading bays.
- A MINIMUM PHYSICAL DISTANCE OF 2 METRES MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES. Consider closing every second bay to aid the management of this.
- Vendors should be reminded they must cleanse and disinfect their vehicles before transporting any other animals and in any case within 24 hours of the journey.
- Sellers are also reminded that animals should only be presented to markets that have been tested in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements and industry schemes.
Buyers coming to auction marts to purchase livestock
- Any buyer must pre-register their attendance at any sale. Only buyers known to marts should be permitted access to any class of sale.
- The number of buyers MUST be restricted to ensure physical distancing (min 2 metres between each buyer) is always maintained.
- The number of buyers a sale can accept will depend upon the size and layout of sale rings. Areas should be clearly marked to show the spacing required around the ring.
- Buyers must declare that they have not been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case nor have visited a high-risk area during the previous 14 days.
- Buyers to sign in and out of auction mart premises. Marts MUST keep a register of those who attended their sales. This includes name, address, and telephone number.
- Where possible buyers should be asked to ‘double up’ or provide orders to reduce numbers of buyers attending sales.
- At the conclusion of the sale buyers must be asked to enter the sales office in a way that maintains physical distancing and absolutely ensures the 2m rule is observed.
- Suitable bio-security measures must be in place and available – hand washing facilities/hand sanitisers/foot dips etc. Buyers must use these on entry and exit.
- No additional visitors will be admitted to the mart on sale days outside of key staff and registered buyers.
Removal of stock post auction
- Hauliers/farmers arrive at mart in normal manner; however, they are to remain in vehicles until loading bay space becomes available.
- Reverse to loading bays and, from a safe physical distance of at least 2 metres, inform the mart staff of consignment to collect. Marts should consider closing every second bay to aid the management of social distancing.
- Mart staff to deliver livestock to pens beside loading bays and haulier/farmer should complete the loading of the lorry/trailer.
- Mart staff to share paperwork with driver as required across the biosecurity line ensuring a safe distance maintained. Mart staff to maintain maximum physical distance possible from vehicle driver and ensure it is always a minimum of 2 metres.
- Haulier/farmer leaves the site.
- Cafes and restaurants must close, however takeaway services can operate provided that all seating areas have been closed off and physical distancing measures continue to be adhered to.
- Operators should refer to the latest published guidance for businesses operating takeaway services while adhering to hygiene requirements and physical distancing guidelines for employees and customers.
- Those operating takeaway services should consult with their Local Authority for further advice where necessary.
- Operators are reminded of the importance of keeping food and drink away from any animal areas for the protection of animal health and that it is illegal to feed catering waste to animals.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020
“Businesses that are deemed critical to the economy will require to meet distancing requirements under Regulation 4 of the above regulations to prevent the spread of Covid 19. In practice this will mean ensuring separation of staff, sellers and buyers in line with the regulations and any associated guidance.
Enforcement is likely to be by Environmental Health Officers or Trading Standards Officers authorised under regulation 7 of the above Regulations. This is a public health duty and should not be mistaken for normal duties carried out primarily under animal health and welfare legislation.
It is likely that Environmental Health Officers/Trading Standards Officers will visit market premises to ensure compliance. They will expect to find systems in place to maintain separation of everyone in the market including staff. If systems do not properly manage the risk of spreading Covid 19 they will advise, warn and ultimately issue prohibition notices for practices, systems or whole businesses that do not comply with the Regulations. In situations where compliance cannot be achieved and businesses continue to trade this could lead to prosecution of the business, staff and/or officers of the business. It should also be noted that it is an offence to obstruct any person carrying out a function of the above Regulations.
Officers will wish to work with businesses to achieve full compliance but due to the risks involved it is likely that they will escalate enforcement as outlined above to minimise the risks of Covid 19 being spread.”
- The sale of prime stock, cull animals and store stock are still permitted.
- The sale of particular categories of breeding stock through the live ring only (no penned sales) can recommence.
- This category of sale includes, but is not limited to, dairy animals, breeding cattle, cows with calf at foot, breeding sheep, ewes with lambs at foot, breeding pigs etc.
- Sales that would normally create large gatherings and require sellers to be in attendance, such as bull sales, are not permitted to be held in the live ring under this review. Shows and sales are not permitted.
- Members should consider restructuring sales or holding sales of different categories of stock on different days to ensure compliance with social distancing in all areas of the mart and at all times.
- It is recommended that all other sales are cancelled with immediate effect.
- Marts MUST be thoroughly cleaned down after every sale.
- Haulage drivers may be permitted access to toilets within the market if no facilities are available outside. Access should only be granted when it is safe to do so and physical distancing of 2m can always be maintained. Drivers must leave the market concourse immediately after using facilities and should not congregate. Strict hygiene routines must be followed as well as a record of entry/exit.
- Operators should review contingency plans on an ongoing basis and at all times follow HPS’s COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings. https://hpspubsrepo.blob.core.windows.net/hps-website/nss/2973/documents/1_covid-19-guidance-for-non-healthcare-settings.pdf