Marts after Level 5: What’s the plan for next week?

Marts are preparing to allow buyers to return to the ringsides next week, in anticipation of an easing of restrictions down from Level 5 from December.

This follows a letter sent by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to marts around the country last week, according to Ray Doyle, livestock and environment executive with the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS).

“The department communicated to us all what the layout would be regarding the step-backs from levels 2, 3 and 4,” he said.

This letter detailed what restrictions would mean on the ground: Level 4 will allow buyers back around the rings social distancing at 2m; Level 3 will see a return of sellers around the mart; and finally, Level 2 means an easing of social distancing to a distance of 1m for up to 90 minutes.

It was highlighted that this is what the department envisages what Levels 4, 3 and 2 will mean, depending on what way the government then announces the updated measures to come in in December.

The government is expected to announce these measures later this week. This week’s meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has been moved to Wednesday, ahead of the Cabinet’s decision on easing coronavirus restrictions.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said yesterday (Monday, November 23) that an announcement on the detail of the next stage will be made on Thursday or Friday.