The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland has updated its guidance for Scottish livestock auctions as more restrictions are eased during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The main changes are:
- All sales of livestock are now permitted subject to guidance being followed.
- One vendor per consignment may be allowed at ringside to see their stock sold and will be asked to exit the market when that has happened.
- Pre-sale viewing for buyers can be implemented where possible and in a controlled manner to allow buyers the opportunity to view stock before sales commence.
It is also recommended that customers wear face coverings in enclosed areas of the markets in line with the requirements on public transport and shops.
Full details of the current operational guidelines that have been agreed with Scottish Government officials are noted below.
These guidelines offer a framework for individual auction marts to operate within. Whilst markets now have the option to allow buyer viewing and limited vendor access, their ability to do so will depend on their own operational circumstances. Therefore, customers should be aware that there is no guarantee that all markets will offer additional access as this will be dependent on their own circumstance governed by matters such as the shape of the auction market and staffing levels. All of these additional services require agreement with Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive before they can be implemented.
Auction Market COVID 19 Operating Guidelines
- 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.
- 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.
Farmers delivering livestock to auction marts
- Please check booking in arrangements with local auction mart operator.
- 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 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 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.
- From Monday 20th July, individual 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.
- It will be up to individual marts to compile and agree an operational plan based on their own specific circumstances.
- The vendor should 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 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.
- Vendors must not congregate and 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
- 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.
- From Monday 20th July 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 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 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
Mart Cafes & Canteens
- 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.
- Each market to ensure that all staff in all parts of the market always maintain a physical distance of 2m. This includes the penning area, 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.
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 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 visits 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.
- 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 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
Test and Protect
- The NHS are asking people to self-isolate who do 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/
- From 22 June, face coverings are mandatory on public transport. It will apply to all passengers and staff in public areas, although there will be exemptions especially for those who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons. Children under five will also be exempt.
- Scottish Government recommend that people should wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where physical distancing might not always be possible.
- 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.
- 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 are ensured.
- 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