Following recent changes announced by the Scottish Government, the whole of Scotland will now be in Level Zero from Monday 19th July 2021. This change allows IAAS to issue updated guidance to all members and customers of those members on the operation of livestock and machinery sales.
The key areas to note in this updated guidance are:
- The physical distance in level zero areas is reduced to 1m in both indoor and outdoor settings (still 2m in all other levels).
- Face coverings remain a mandatory requirement in all indoor spaces, including all enclosed areas of auction markets. Please respect this requirement and wear a face covering throughout indoor areas of the market unless you are exempt.
- Machinery sales with people in attendance can recommence with a 1m physical distance in place.
- Test and Protect (contact tracing) remains in operation, so please continue to provide markets with contact details when booking in and attending.
IAAS would like to thank all members and auction market customers for their hard work and support to keep auction markets safe places to conduct business. Everyone involved has gone to great efforts to keep the livestock trade operating and by helping keep the transparent live ring auction system operational we have seen buyers able to fulfill their wide ranging requirements in an efficient manner and we have witnessed sellers being able to trade livestock competitively and for excellent values compared to recent times.
Once again our livestock markets, auctioneers and IAAS members have demonstrated their value and professionalism to Scottish farmers and the wider rural economy.
IAAS COVID-19 Guidance
Updated on 19th July 2021 to reflect recent changes in advice and responsibilities for enforcement and monitoring of auction marts following the most recent guidance from Scottish Government.
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 will remain mandatory in all enclosed areas of markets, although there are 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 an indoor environment and assist users of that space to be aware of their obligation to wear a face covering 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 10 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.
- 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 in level 0 areas to maintain 1m physical distance at all times, and for all other levels to maintain a 2m distance.
- 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 women should not attend sales.
- General public, trade and others not directly involved in sales may only attend with prior permission of the market operator.
Test and Protect
- The NHS are asking people to self-isolate for 10 days, although they may not have symptoms, who 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, in line with Scottish Government Guidance issued for the tourism and hospitality sector. A copy of the guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/pages/collecting-customer-contact-details/
- 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 the Scottish Government 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 physical 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.
- In areas which are in level 0 following the 19th of July, a minimum physical distance of 1 metre must always be maintained. For all other levels this remains at 2 metres.
- 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.
- IAAS continues to recommend using a ‘drop and go’ policy, however this is not a mandatory requirement.
- Marts may allow vendors access to 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(either 1m physical distancing for level zero areas, or 2m physical distancing for levels 1 and above), 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. 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 hand hygiene measures and 1m physical distancing in level zero areas, or 2m distancing in all other levels.
Buyers coming to auction marts to purchase livestock
- All buyers must pre-register their attendance at any sale.
- The number of people in markets must be restricted to ensure physical distancing (min 1 metre between each buyer in level zero areas, or 2 metres for areas which are level 1 or above) is always maintained.
- The number of people 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.
- Attendees 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.
- Attendees 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.
- At the conclusion of the sale buyers must be asked to enter the sales office in a way that maintains physical distancing of 1 metres for areas in level zero, or 2 metres for all other levels..
- 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.
- Visitors must be informed not to congregate around the market premises (including ringside) and it is recommended that they should leave immediately after their business has been completed.
- 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 1m physical distance between themselves, staff, vendors and other buyers (or 2m if the area is not yet in level zero).
- 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.
- 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.
- After consultation 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 1 metre (or 2 metres if not yet in level zero), 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 should maintain a physical distance of 1m from the driver (or 2m if the area is not yet under level zero restrictions).
- Haulier/farmer leaves the site.
Machinery & Implement Sales
- On site machinery sales are now permitted with operators required to follow the guidance in place for livestock sales.
- It will be at the operator’s discretion to decide whether on site sales are feasible on their premises.
- Sales with online/telephone/remote bidding are unaffected.
- Viewing days can be arranged in advance of sale day.
- Viewing will be by appointment only at allotted times. There should be a one-way system in place on site and wash basins/hand sanitisers must be available.
- Machinery should be delivered/collected at appointed times to allow operators to 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.
- A record should be kept of all visitors to these sites and should include name, address, contact telephone number, time in and time out of the site. If a vehicle is being used to collect a piece of equipment/machinery, the vehicle registration should also be taken. These procedures should be mirrored for on-farm collections/deliveries and operators should ensure this information is collected by themselves or held by the customer/farmer.
- On collection/removal from site, operators should ensure that a 1m physical distance is maintained and (or 2m in any level other than level 0) 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.
- 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 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
- Sectors guidance is at: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality.
- 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 1m in indoor and outdoor spaces, or 2m for areas which are not yet in level zero, 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.”
- Members should consider restructuring sales or holding sales of different categories of stock on different days to ensure compliance with physical distancing in all areas of the mart and at all times.
- Marts MUST be thoroughly cleaned down after every sale.
- 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