Norwich Livestock Market will continue trading during second lockdown

Norwich Livestock Market will continue trading under a strict social distancing regime during the se

Norwich Livestock Market will continue trading under a strict social distancing regime during the second lockdown, said its directors. Picture: Chris Hill - Credit: Archant

Norwich Livestock Market has confirmed it will continue to operate during the second coronavirus lockdown – although tougher restrictions will be enforced to ensure its safety.

Norwich Livestock Market chairman Stephen Lutkin. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Livestock Market chairman Stephen Lutkin. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

Livestock auctions, due to their important role in supplying meat into the public food chain, are allowed to continue auctioning cattle and sheep if they implement a series of protective measures.

Directors of the fortnightly auction on Hall Road said the next sale on November 14 will go ahead using a similar social distancing regime to the one employed during the spring.

It includes a “drop and go” policy requiring sellers to stay in their vehicles when bringing animals for sale, allowing only registered buyers to attend, and enforcing the wearing of face masks and strict two-metre social distancing rules across the whole site, in line with advice from the government and the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA).

Market chairman Stephen Lutkin said: “We are reverting to the ‘drop and go’ system, and only registered buyers will be allowed in the market – it means vendors will no longer be able to stay and see their stock sold.

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“We need people to be wearing masks all the time, even in the outdoor areas. There is a 2m rule here, so there will be restrictions on the number of people in the ring.”

During the first lockdown in March, the market initially decided to close temporarily for the safety of its staff and the farmers who gather there. Despite the loss of three sales before eventually reopening in May, Mr Lutkin said this has still been a successful year for trade at the cattle market.

“We have been very busy through the autumn, he said. “Up until October 31, we had sold 1,000 more store cattle than the previous year, despite losing three sales in the spring.

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“So it has still been a very good year for Norwich Livestock Market. With Newark Livestock Market closing, and with us being TB4 (low risk for bovine tuberculosis), people know they can come to Norwich and buy TB4 cattle without that worry.”

READ MORE: Farmers could face fertiliser ban in a bid to reduce ammonia pollutionLAA executive secretary Chris Dodds said: “Livestock auction markets have been acknowledged as essential and critical businesses in the food supply chain. However, we have a responsibility to conduct our sales in a way that minimises the risk to both clients and staff of contracting Covid-19.

“It is imperative that we provide a safe and bio-secure environment, as we did during the first full lockdown period, and we encourage buyers and vendors to liaise with their local auctioneer to check the specific safety protocols implemented at their particular market.”

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