The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has written to livestock mart managers ahead of the reopening of premises on May 17th, 2021.
Last week, Minister Charlie McConalogue confirmed that buyers will return to mart rings, whilst adhering to public guidelines from the above date.
In the letter, seen by That’s Farming, the DAFM confirmed that “sellers may remain on the premises and use the seller’s box, provided social distancing is maintained”.
Marts wishing to allow buyers into sales rings must revise their Safe Sales Standard Operating Procedure (SSSOP) to ensure compulsory face covering and social distancing.
The SSSOP must detail the measures proposed by the mart management to ensure that physical distancing is maintained at all times and should cover the points below.
The DAFM has confirmed that SSSOPs for June 2020 will be sufficient once amended to include requirements for wearing face masks/coverings.
DAFM, in the letter, has provided guidance regarding mart premises, staff and visitors.
Some of the main points include:
- The number of staff at the mart should be limited to the minimum required. The mart should keep a record of date and times of attendance and attendees’ contact details, in case any future contact tracing is necessary;
- Staff should be given appropriate training in the following: symptoms of COVID-19 infection, prevention of spread and hand washing;
- Also, management should advise staff that the physical distancing guidelines as outlined by the HSE must always be adhered to in dealing with both other staff and visitors;
- Management should remain staff not to attend for work if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, i.e. fever, cough or shortness of breath;
- If a member of staff develops symptoms while at work, they should advise their manager immediately and go home if well enough to do so; If not, arrangements should be made to isolate the ill person while awaiting medical attention;
- Lastly, staff must wear face-covering while on the mart premises.
‘Visitors’ to the mart (i.e. Buyers/sellers/hauliers)
- Marts must control the entrance to the mart premises and prevent the congregation of members of the public in the mart car park or at entryways into mart buildings;
- Buyers must be separated (by greater than 2 metres) in the sales ring at all times.
- Mart should regulate any visits to its premises by appointment;
- Visitors arriving without appointments should be refused access to the mart site;
- The mart should record details of all dates and times of attendees using an attendance record along with contact details;
- Visitors should be advised of two-metre physical distancing guidelines. They should only move about the mart premises as directed by the signage provided and/or by mart personnel;
- All visitors must wear a face covering while on the mart premises;
- Buyers may attend the sales ring and view stock in pens. However, this must be done by prior appointment with the livestock mart.
- Access points to the mart premises should be limited to the minimum required to operate safely. Mart employees should regulate and record any entrants at all entrances;
- The mart should provide hand hygiene facilities throughout the premises;
- Marts should put appropriate in place to remind all attendees of the recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19;
- Mart management must ensure that arrangements for physical distancing are in place throughout the premises. This includes toilet facilities, canteens (where open) and in office space;
- Marts should implement cleaning arrangements, with special attention to high touch surfaces such as door handles, light switches, handrails etc.
Meanwhile, you can find information about livestock marts in Northern Ireland here.