Visitors to Norwich Livestock Market have been asked to show continued patience while the auction remains under lockdown rules.

The fortnightly market on Hall Road has been operating on a "business only" basis for the last year, so it could continue its vital role in the food chain during lockdown.

It included only allowing registered sellers to attend, and enforcing the use of face masks and strict two-metre social distancing.

But while many lockdown rules have been relaxed this week, the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) has advised that markets must continue to follow the current biosecurity protocols, in line with the government’s Covid-19 roadmap.

Norwich Livestock Market chairman Stephen Lutkin said he hoped the family-friendly social side of the market can return on June 21, if the next stage of the roadmap progresses as planned.

"It is still just business at the moment," he said. "It has been a tough time, but we have worked through it well and people have accepted that is the way we have got to do it.

"We have been very careful, and we still cannot allow children or families in.

"It will be nice when it is a more social occasion for people to meet up and have a chat, which is an important part of the livestock market that has stopped.

"We're looking forward to getting back to normal, hopefully after June 21, but we will just have to wait and see what happens with that."

The LAA has reiterated key public safety guidelines including that markets must enforce buyer and vendor restrictions to allow for social distancing, that face coverings must be worn by everyone within enclosed spaces, that hygiene measures and hand washing facilities are in place, and that markets must keep a register of people attending their sales.

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA said: “The LAA appreciates the continued support and understanding of our clients and operating member marts. Our priorities are to protect public health while still being able to supply the food chain.

"We await announcement on the lifting of further restrictions on June 21, when it is hoped our marts can return to a nearer ‘normal’ operation."