The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland has updated its guidance for Scottish auction markets and their customers following the First Ministers announcement of increased restrictions on 4th January 2021. The key message from Scottish Government is to ‘Stay at Home’ unless for essential purposes.
Livestock markets are a key business and will remain open. Auctioneers retain their status as key workers. However, it is clear that COVID has seen another resurgence and our number one priority is to protect the health of our staff, customers and hauliers from this new variant whilst continuing to play our part in supplying the food chain, now and into the future.
Whilst auction markets can remain open for all types of sales (with the exception of poultry gatherings due to the ongoing avian flu restrictions), it is critical we keep the flow of people through auction marts to a minimum to reduce the transmission of the virus. IAAS strongly advises vendors to revert to a ‘drop and go’ policy for livestock consignments and that only one buyer per business attends the mart.
Customers and staff of IAAS members have all played a fantastic role in our efforts to reduce transmission of the disease whilst remaining open to trade and we would like to thank everyone for their support and understanding. As the disease remains prevalent across many communities, the ongoing assistance of all of our customers would be greatly appreciated.
IAAS COVID guidance has remained strong and clear throughout the pandemic, therefore the current changes are limited and they remain subject to ongoing review. Our full guidance for marts and customers is available at the bottom of this page, however they key changes are as follows:
- It is strongly recommended that all auction marts and vendors revert to the ‘drop and go’ policy seen during Spring 2020. Reducing the number of people in and around auction marts will help us ensure the safety of staff and buyers. IAAS actively discourages vendor attendance within the mart premises at this time.
- It is strongly recommended that only one buyer per business attends the mart. In line with the ‘drop and go’ policy for vendors, our commitment to public health means we must work to keep numbers in the mart to a minimum.
- Mart canteens and restaurants are now closed and open for takeaway food and drink only.
Please note that individual auction market operators may insist on tighter rules and guidance on their particular site/s. If this is the case please remember any additional measures are in place for the health and safety of everyone involved.
Many auction marts now operate online systems with viewing via video-link and the possibility of online bidding and we would ask that customers utilise these facilities where available.
As a general reminder, the following are key areas to remember when attending auction marts:
- Pre-register attendance with the auction mart for buying and pre-book stock if you are selling.
- Do not attend the mart under any circumstances should you have COVID symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.
- You are strongly advised not to attend the mart if you fall into a high risk group.
- Vendors should drop their livestock at the mart and head home.
- Buyers and hauliers must provide contact details for the Test and Protect system.
- All attendees at the mart must use all available hygiene stations on a regular basis to keep hands clean.
- The 2m physical distance must be maintained at all times and in all areas of the market premises.
- Face coverings must be worn unless you are exempt. Please note that face coverings are NOT a substitute for keeping a 2m physical distance.
IAAS COVID-19 Guidance
Updated on 5th January 2021 to reflect recent changes in advice and responsibilities for enforcement and monitoring of auction marts following the most recent guidance form Scottish Government and the publication of Scotland’s Strategic Framework for suppressing COVID-19 in October 2020.
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 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.
- 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 10 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 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.
- 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 5th January 2021 until further notice, it is strongly recommended that all auction marts and vendors revert to the ‘drop and go’ policy seen during Spring 2020. This means that vendors should drop their stock at the mart as per the above guidance and then leave the premises without entering the mart or congregating near the premises. In exceptional cases where this cannot be adhered to:
- 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, if absolutely necessary and only when safe to do so and at the discretion of the auction mart operator, vendors may 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 in markets 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. It is strongly recommended that only one buyer per business attends the mart.
- 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.
Mart Cafes & Canteens
- In level 4 areas, which is mainland Scotland and Skye, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars are closed. Sectors guidance is at: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality.
- Takeaways can still operate as normal, providing food is sold for consumption off premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed
- 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.
- 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