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Livestock markets are considered essential businesses for providing a safe and abundant food supply during the mitigation phase of CovID-19 detection in Pennsylvania. These businesses are strongly encouraged to take steps to protect employees, customers, and the general public from exposure and spread of CovID-19.
The PA Department of Agriculture recommends all markets take the following precautions:
- Post signage, restricting access to only those who are healthy to protect the well-being of employees and auction attendees. Strictly no one should enter with a fever or respiratory illness or chronic medical condition.
- Require bidders to register daily in log book and issue bidder cards.
- Sanitize pens or pencils in between each use or have an auction employee write down information for bidders if possible.
- Provide hand sanitizer stations at bottlenecks where attendees must contact surfaces or are more likely to interact with each other.
- Restrict entrance to sales ring and barn to auction employees and those with visible bidder cards. If a bidder card not visible, access should be denied.
- Maintain a daily log of all bidders, consignors and employees who were on premises for epidemiologic purposes, in case an attendee should contract CovID-19.
- Encourage social distancing, six feet between people at all times, for all employees, bidders or consignors.
- Consignors should unload livestock and return home unless bidding; consignors should be required to register and get bidder card to enter sales ring or barn.
- Refrain from selling food or drinks if at all possible or only provide food through take out or pick up.
- Eliminate indoor or outdoor eating areas.
Prepare auction workforce
- Provide guidance for handwashing and handling materials. Make sure guidance is available and communicated to employees in their native languages.
- Stagger lunch times or provide additional space to increase distancing of employees.
- All sick employees must stay at home.
- Inform employees where they can find handwashing facilities and sanitizing materials throughout the sales ring and barn.
- Encourage employees to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing during non-work hours.
Sanitize contact surfaces
- Disinfect all door handles, knobs and gates latches, floor mats, steering wheels, and other commonly contacted surfaces.
- Sanitize common gathering places – seating and arm rest in sales ring, lobbies, office spaces, lunch rooms, locker facilities, etc.
Farmers, dealers and haulers should review and follow the CovID-19 On-Farm and On-Farm Delivery guidance to limit risk when bringing animals from the farm to the auction and back. And farmers, haulers, and auctions should continue to practice biosecurity to ensure the safety of the animals, public health and the food supply.
Secure Food Supply begins with each of us and in this time of heightened risk, it is of paramount importance, we do everything in our power to protect our health and well-being as well as animal health. With only 1% of Americans feeding the country we can't afford to lose any one.