LAA advises continued vigilance as Covid restrictions ease

The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) is encouraging farmers and auctioneers to remain vigilant at livestock markets despite the fact lockdown restrictions are easing from Monday (19 July).

In England, the government announced yesterday (13 July) that almost all legal restrictions on social contact would be removed.

This means people will no longer be forced to wear face coverings or adhere to 1m distancing.

First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford is set to announce any changes at 12pm today (14 July). Meanwhile, social distancing rules will remain in place in Scotland from Monday.

See also: Will Covid restrictions limit numbers at agricultural shows?

While the LAA has welcomed the move in England, it is encouraging those attending markets to take “‘necessary” precautions to protect public health and follow the guidance set out by individual market operators.

Each market’s facilities are different, and therefore it is at the discretion of the market operator as to how the ease of restrictions is managed. Precautions such as the provision and use of sanitising and hand-washing facilities are still encouraged, as well as the use of face coverings, where applicable.

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA explains: “We have been extremely grateful for the support of our buyers, vendors, and operating member marts during the difficult challenges while certain restrictions have been in place.

“During this period, it has again demonstrated the importance of the livestock market, not only in setting the tremendous trade we have seen over recent months, but also as an essential social hub for the wider rural community.

“While we are delighted to welcome back farmers and visitors to the mart environment, providing an opportunity to meet and socialise that has been missed throughout the pandemic, we encourage continued precaution and ask visitors to work co-operatively with their market. Our priorities remain to protect public health while still being able to supply the food chain,” he adds.

Buyers and vendors are urged to contact their local auctioneer for specific measures within individual livestock markets.