Farmers told to obey mart Covid guidelines or risk closures

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland could order livestock markets to 'close at any stage', the UFU says
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland could order livestock markets to 'close at any stage', the UFU says

Farmers in Northern Ireland have been told to follow strict Covid-19 guidelines in livestock markets or risk closures again.

Market protocols must be upheld by farmers to ensure mart sales continue, the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has said.

In recent days, several clusters have been pinpointed across Northern Ireland resulting in the closure of numerous businesses and sports facilities.

Because of this, farmers have been told to obey market protocols to keep themselves safe, and so live selling and buying can continue.



UFU president Victor Chestnutt said marts were a 'vital route' for farmers to sell stock and trade had been doing well recently.

But he said there was 'no room for error' at this stage of the pandemic, as clusters can easily happen and the consequences of it with the immediate closing of facilities.



"Farmers are receiving a good return for their stock and we want this to continue, but farmers attending the mart need to be sensible and ensure they are following the protocols at all times."

Marts across the UK are providing PPE to protect their staff who are working in close proximity with farmers who have travelled from various areas.

But Mr Chestnutt said 'extra caution' and a 'common sense approach' still needed to be taken in markets.

"Sellers at the mart should make their way home as soon as their livestock are sold to help prevent large crowds forming, as should those who have purchased stock.

"As well as this, everyone needs to continue social distancing and washing their hands."

He said it would be a 'disaster' and a 'huge step back' if marts were forced to close again.

"We have all been adjusting to this new normal during the pandemic as best as we can and we need to keep things progressing.



"We all look forward to the day when marts can be a social gathering place again,” Mr Chestnutt said.