Reminder: Marts can reopen on Monday under ‘safe sale’ conditions

The Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Business and Society will enter ‘phase 2’ next Monday, June 8, which will see marts reopening where they meet certain conditions.

Since March 31, marts have been in a position to provide essential services only at their facilities in line with standard operating procedures (SOPs) that were approved by the department.

Last week, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed to AgriLand how marts will operate when phase 2 begins on Monday.

In a statement, the department outlined the following: “Mart managers must submit new ‘safe sales’ SOPs to their local regional veterinary office for approval if they wish to resume auctions and using show rings from June 8.

“The new SOP will require agreement by the department on proposals by mart management on the maximum number of individuals that may be permitted entry to the ‘trading room areas’ of the mart.

“Floors will be required to display permanent markings, two metres apart, indicating where buyers must position themselves,” the department explained.

Furthermore, the new SOP will require:

  • That persons entering and exiting the mart site are recorded (name, contact phone number, time in/time out);
  • That persons entering and exiting the ‘trading room area’ are similarly recorded (name, contact phone number, time in/time out);
  • That physical distancing of two metres is observed by attendees at a mart, and that this is monitored and enforced by mart management.

These arrangements come after contact between the department and mart representative organisations, who have repeatedly highlighted the significant impact that the loss of the public auction has had on business.

The department said that Minister Michael Creed has engaged with banks on the liquidity and financing needs of farmers and agri-food businesses – including marts – and has stressed the need for banks “to support and work with their customers through this challenging period”.

According to the department, all banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and that they may be able to provide payment breaks or emergency working capital facilities.