April 23, 2020
The phrase “physical distancing” is now part of the language. You may prefer “social distancing,” but the operative word is distancing. Yet, critical ag-focused tasks and events must continue to keep food moving from farm to market.
Recently, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and Wyoming Livestock Board released guidelines for operating markets during the COVID-19 precautions. Though livestock markets are exempt from the state’s order on gatherings, that doesn’t mean precautions aren’t required.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon declared a state of emergency in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ordered the director of the Wyoming Department of Health to take action to address threats to public health, safety and welfare. That’s when the WDH issued its statewide public health order Continuation on Gatherings. The order forbids gatherings of more than 10 people and outlines the best practices to slow the spread of the virus, including the 6-foot social distance rule. Yet livestock marketing must continue.
Related: Complete coronavirus coverage
Tactics for markets
Livestock auctions are exempted from the WDH order, yet these markets must institute changes to protect staff, sellers and buyers. WDA and WLB recommend the following guidance for those markets:
• Familiarize yourself with and follow local guidance regarding assembly of crowds that may differ from state and federal guidance.
• Carefully consider if an auction could be postponed or hosted virtually, and choose these alternatives if possible.
• Limit customer numbers to ensure enough space to maintain 6 feet of separation between people.
• Sellers should depart after unloading to view the sale online.
• Exchange of checks should be done through the mail — or at least occur in the parking lot — to avoid the congregation of customers.
• All employees, buyers and sellers must remain home if exhibiting symptoms of illness. Vulnerable and immunocompromised individuals should exercise extreme caution to avoid gatherings.
• Provide ample opportunities for hand-washing and disinfecting.
• Clean and disinfect all commonly used areas, with particular attention to restrooms and ensure the restocking of soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
• Consider closing all areas of the auction market not necessary for the sale to prevent mingling and loitering.
• Provide staggered times for in-person viewing of stock, and those times should accommodate small groups.
• Clearly communicate and enforce their policies, with special attention to their websites and social media platforms.
Buyers coming from out of state to pick up animals are asked to avoid overnight stays whenever possible. Visitors who can't avoid overnight stays must quarantine for the duration of their stay to the best of their ability. Gordon issued a statewide order for individuals arriving in Wyoming from another state or country to self-quarantine.
Source: Wyoming Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
Read more about:Covid 19
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