The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has sent letters to livestock mart managers around the country detailing the planned easing of restrictions around ringside buying and selling.

In the letter, the department highlights that, as of Monday, May 17, some restrictions on mart operations will be lifted, which will “allow marts to permit buyers to be present in sales rings and so to further facilitate trade in livestock”.

It was highlighted that 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.

In addition, the SSSOP must detail the measures proposed by the mart management to ensure that physical distancing is maintained at all times.

The department noted that SSSOPs for June 2020 “will be sufficient once amended to include requirements for the wearing of face masks”.

According to the department’s letter, a person may only operate a livestock mart if:

  1. He or she submits a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to the Superintending
    Veterinary Inspector (SVI) at the DAFM Regional Veterinary Office nearest to the
    mart, which provides details of measures put in place at the mart that ensure it is
    operated in full compliance with HSE guidelines in relation to hygiene and physical
  2. The SVI has approved the SOP submitted, and
  3. The mart operator complies with the SOP, including any amendments to the
    SOP specified by DAFM.

The department warned that if this condition is breached, DAFM “may suspend or revoke the licence to operate” – which will apply immediately.