The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland has recently released their updated guidelines for the ongoing operation of auction marts and attendance of vendors and buyers at sales from 2nd November 2020 onwards.
This refreshed guidance reflects recent changes in advice and responsibilities for enforcement in, and monitoring of, auction marts, and the publication of Scotland’s Strategic Framework for suppressing COVID-19. Auction marts and auctioneers maintain their key worker status that will allow sales to continue regardless of the local tier that marts may find themselves in and this has been possible due to the excellent levels of compliance we have seen across Scottish marts during the period of restriction.
IAAS Executive Director, Neil Wilson, said ‘On behalf of IAAS and all of its members, I would like to thank all of our customers for their cooperation and patience over the last few months. By auctioneers, hauliers, buyers and sellers all working together our transparent live auction system has been able to continue to trade and it has really delivered great value through the ring during a really challenging period of time as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic’.
The key areas that have been updated are:
- Wearing of face coverings are now mandatory in enclosed areas of marts with certain exemptions as noted below.
- New section detailing how IAAS and Road Haulage Association have worked together to provide more access to marts, where possible and practical, for livestock hauliers.
- More detail around the Test and Protect protocols and encouragement from IAAS and its members to download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app.
These guidelines continue to offer a framework for individual auction marts to operate within. The ability of individual markets to offer all of the services suggested within the guidelines will depend on their own operational circumstances. Therefore, customers should be aware that there is no guarantee that all markets will be able to offer additional access as this will be dependent on their own circumstances governed by matters such as the shape of the auction market, staffing levels and agreement with Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive.
IAAS COVID-19 Guidance
At IAAS our members 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 as key workers in the food supply chain. This document continues to offer the operational framework to aid market operators with their decision making to limit exposure to COVID-19 through marts whilst ensuring the livestock trade continues in a measurable and safe manner.
Our members operate marts of different shapes and sizes as well as operating in different Local Authority areas. Some Local Authorities may implement tighter guidelines depending on the Level for that area.
Following ongoing consultation with the Scottish Government, the guidance and recommendations for continued mart operation for all classes of permitted sale is as follows:
- Face coverings are now mandatory in all enclosed areas of markets although there will be exemptions especially for those who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons.
- People responsible for relevant premises should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law so if you are an owner of the business/employer, you should consider if any of your buildings are such an indoor environment and assist users of that space to be aware of their obligation to wear a face covering there unless an exemption applies.
- Exemptions include where measures have been taken to ensure the legally required separation in that area of the workplace, or when a person is undertaking tasks in the course of their employment, where the wearing of a face covering would cause a material risk of harm, such as handling large unpredictable livestock.
- Face coverings must be worn in staff and public canteens, except when seated at a table or eating and drinking.
- Anyone entering communal workspaces must wear a face covering, this includes corridors, canteens and lifts.
- A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.
- This is now a legal requirement and the appropriate legislation can be found here: : https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/325/contents/made. Enforcement may fall to the appropriate authorities albeit operators will take all required measure to ensure compliance with the regulations.
- Anyone displaying any COVID19 symptoms or are isolating in line with the 14 day period requirement (COVID19 Symptoms Self Help Guide) MUST not attend any sales. Anyone who has been in contact with a COVID19 case either knowingly or have been informed through Contact Tracing should be isolating for the prescribed period and should not attend sales during that time.
- Anyone self-isolating or who has been in a high-risk area should not attend sales until that isolation/quarantine period is over.
- It is strongly recommended that buyers over the age of 70, as a higher risk group, do not attend sales. Having heart disease, diabetes, being overweight, or being a man, are also individual risk factors for more serious COVID symptoms.
- Those wishing to attend are 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 should consider whether it is appropriate to attend market.
- Pregnant ladies and children (under 16) must not attend sales.
- General public, trade and others not directly involved in sales must not to attend.
Test and Protect
- The NHS are asking people to self-isolate for 14 days although they may not have symptoms but have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed by testing to have the virus.
- This is part of Test and Protect – Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy. You can find out more Test and Protect here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-test-and-protect/
- Auction marts will collect contact information from all visitors to marts to assist with contact tracing. More guidance on this can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/pages/collecting-customer-contact-details/ (please note this is aimed at tourism/hospitality, however the outcomes are the same for auction marts).
- Additional guidance on data protection can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/contact-tracing-protecting-customer-and-visitor-details/.
- IAAS and SG also encourage all staff and visitors to marts to download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app for your smartphone. This is available on the Google Play Store or on the Apple App Store.
- Protect Scotland is an entirely voluntary app that is an additional part of NHS Scotland’s Test & Protect service. The app complements but does not replace manual contact tracing. It enhances contact tracing and quickly alerts app users that are at risk as they have come into close contact (less than 2m for 15 minutes or more) with an app user that has
since tested positive for Covid-19. Further information about the contact tracing app for employers, workers and customers is available.
- The sale of all classes of livestock are permitted.
- This category of sale includes, but is not limited to, prime and store cattle, sheep and pigs, cull cows, sheep and pigs, dairy animals, breeding cattle, cows with calf at foot, breeding sheep, ewes with lambs at foot, breeding pigs, poultry etc.
Delivering livestock to auction marts
- Please check booking in arrangements with local auction mart operator prior to attending.
- 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.
- Mart staff to collect livestock from the loading bay pens and pen up in the mart.
- Vendors MUST NOT take paperwork to mart offices and should only enter the mart if authorised to do so by auction staff.
- It is recommended that hand washing/sanitising facilities are available at loading bays.
- A minimum physical distance of 2 metres must always be maintained. 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.
- Vendors 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.
- Marts may allow 1 vendor per consignment to enter the mart premises to see their stock sold, subject to meeting all current Public Health and IAAS guidelines and in agreement with HSE/Local Authority officials.
- For certain sales, where agreed by the auction company and Local Authorities, and, where space in the market allows so the 2m physical distance can be maintained, vendors may be allowed to accompany stock in the penning area and to the ring. It is recommended that this is undertaken only for specific sales where vendor access to the penning area aids the operation of the sale in a safer manner than would otherwise be possible.
- It will be up to individual marts to compile and agree an operational plan with HSE/LA’s based on their own specific circumstances. Best practice would be to involve both agencies in your risk assessments, even by way of copying for information.
- Vendors must pre-register attendance with their stock and individual marts will be required to ensure that only registered vendors enter the premises. This is to ensure compliance with, and support of, the Test and Protect system.
- Vendors must meet the same requirements as are in place for the attendance of buyers and staff and these are laid out in our guidelines (below). Attention should be paid to 2m physical distancing and hand hygiene measures.
- Vendors must be informed not to congregate around the market premises.
- Best practice guidance is that vendors should be allowed controlled access to see their stock in the ring and should leave the premises once their stock has been sold.
Buyers coming to auction marts to purchase livestock
- All buyers 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 and other areas of the mart. 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.
- Marts may consider the use of screening/physical barriers between buyers around the ring to allow increased attendance. Early consultation with the Local Authority is recommended to ensure these are installed as required so public health requirements are satisfied.
- No additional visitors will be admitted to the mart on sale days outside of key staff, registered buyers and, where agreed by individual marts, vendors.
- Buyers must be informed not to congregate around the market premises (including ringside) and should leave immediately after stock has been purchased.
- Marts may allow buyers to view stock held in the penning area before the sale commences subject to meeting all current Public Health and IAAS guidelines and in agreement with HSE/Local Authority officials.
- It will be up to individual marts to compile and agree an operational plan with HSE/LA’s based on their own specific circumstances.
- Best practice guidance is that this viewing should be completed via a controlled one way system through the penning area with individuals restricted to viewing on their own and maintaining the required 2m physical distance between themselves, staff, vendors and other buyers.
- Minimising touching of pens and other touch points should be encouraged.
- Hand sanitisers should be provided on entry and exit to viewing area.
- It is also suggested that a specific time is set aside for this viewing period to ensure it can be effectively and properly managed.
- IAAS fully acknowledge the key part livestock hauliers play in our industry and we thank them for their support and patience over recent months. Our guidance is in place to protect the health of all involved in auctions and the loss of marts and/or livestock hauliers to COVID or self-isolation would be a severe blow to the agriculture industry.
- Access to inside of marts are currently restricted to staff, pre-registered buyers and a limited amount of pre-registered vendors. Markets are encouraged to remind buyers to liaise with hauliers in advance of sales, sharing contact details so arrangements can be made over the phone.
- Having recently discussed the current challenges with the Road Haulage Association, IAAS has suggested to members that, where facilities are available and space allows, that hauliers be allowed access to the mart. Given the challenge of space at ringside as well as protecting staff and drivers, it is strongly recommended that drivers do not access the ringside or penning areas and are offered alternative facilities within the mart premises, such as a separate room, where a live feed of the sale could be provided if possible. This will allow hauliers to see who is buying and enable better communications to arrange transport.
- Livestock hauliers should pre-register their intention to attend the market and provide details to assist with Test and Protect protocols (contact tracing).
- Unfortunately, not all marts will have the ability to provide the space or facilities to accommodate all drivers and we ask for patience in these instances where our members are unable to provide viewing facilities or access to marts.
- Livestock drivers are subject to the same guidelines as all other visitors to the marts and should familiarise themselves with the information noted above.
- In all these instances IAAS request that livestock drivers always follow the guidance and instructions from the auction mart staff.
- IAAS also thank the Road Haulage Association for working with their livestock haulier group to try and find some cooperative solutions to enable more information flow between buyers and hauliers at marts.
- Buyers are also respectfully asked to ensure clear communications with their hauliers before, during and after sales to help with the current challenges we all face.
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.
Machinery & Implement Sales
- On site machinery sales are permitted to be held with online/telephone/remote bidding only.
- Viewing days can be arranged in advance of sale day. This must always be operated in such a way to ensure 2m physical distancing around the site.
- It is recommended that viewing is by appointment at allotted times, there is a one-way system in place on site and that there are wash basins and sanitisers available.
- Machinery should be delivered/collected at appointed times to ensure operators can manage numbers of people on site.
- When machinery is being delivered to site, operators should ensure physical distancing measures are in place and hygiene facilities are available and utilised. Face coverings should be worn if any of these interactions take place indoors.
- Cabbed machines delivered to site should have cabs disinfected where possible, particularly around areas that are touched on a regular basis. This could include handles, steering wheel, gear sticks etc.
- Machines cabs should be locked where possible and visitors should be requested not to touch or climb on machines.
- On removal from site, operators should ensure that the 2m physical distance is maintained and that hygiene facilities are available and utilised.
- Exchange of required documents should be completed in the safest way possible, preferably by email. If that is not possible then documentation should be exchanged in a safe manner on site. Face coverings should be worn if any of these interactions take place indoors.
- Whilst not recommended, marts may conduct on farm sales where there is no alternative and in full agreement with the relevant Local Authority who will require a full Risk Assessment. Scottish Government has published Covid-19 events sector guidance and an operational checklist. This guidance came into effect on 20 July. To help decide which actions event organisers take, they need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as they would for other health and safety related hazards.
Mart Cafes & Canteens
- Mart cafes and canteens are able to operate using Scottish Government hospitality guidance and in conjunction with marts guidance where appropriate.
- Operators should refer to the latest published guidance from Food Standards Scotland to ensure they operate in a safe manner. This guidance is periodically updated and should be checked on a regular basis.
- Those operating restaurant and takeaway services should consult with their Local Authority for further advice where necessary.
- Test and Protect contact tracing will be required where canteens/cafes are not an integral part of the mart. For those canteens/cafes that are within the mart premises this should already be captured through registration at the front door.
- 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.
- Each market to ensure that all staff in all parts of the market always maintain a physical distance of 2m unless using physical barriers. This includes the penning area, ring, office and box.
- It is recommended that a comprehensive action plan in this regard is in place and available to discuss with Local Authority staff.
- Market office staff should wear face coverings when moving around enclosed areas and not seated at their workstations.
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.”
- Shows with audiences are not currently 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.
- Marts MUST be thoroughly cleaned down after every sale.
- Members can canvass and visit farms for specific purposes and with prior approval of the business in question. Physical distancing should be maintained, and hand washing/sanitisation completed regularly at these visits. A record of all calls made in person should be maintained and be accessible as required by authorities to aid Test and Protect.
- Operators should review contingency plans on an ongoing basis and always 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
- Public health protection is the most important aspect and we can operate safely with high levels of cleanliness, biosecurity and always ensuring physical distancing.
- Livestock trading can continue, ensuring continuity of supply for the food chain, now and in the future. Animal welfare is maintained at the highest level and the rural economy can continue to operate.
- Our national food chain continues to be assured that livestock will remain available now, and over the longer term with no supply chain interruption at the primary point of production.
- The use of auction marts means that the alternative of farm to farm sales is limited ensuring that buyers, farmers and hauliers are not constantly moving, unmonitored, from farm to farm.
- Use of auction marts ensures ongoing traceability of stock and high levels of animal welfare.
- Animal welfare is maintained as it ensures that farms do not become overstocked or retain stock unsuitable for the farm system.
- High levels of biosecurity are maintained across all parts of the mart system.
Marts continue to help the rural economy operate in a transparent and fair manner through livestock and machinery auctions being available.
- Updated on 2nd November 2020 to add guidance on the new Scottish Government tiering system, changes in the face covering rules, guidance for hauliers attending marts and contact racing information.
- Updated on 16th July 2020 to add guidance on additional sales, vendor access to marts, buyer pre-sale viewing arrangements and recommended health advice.
- Updated on 12th June 2020 to add guidance for machinery and implement sales.
- Updated on 25th May 2020 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.