Saleyard operators have begun discussions on the impact of coronavirus, with one suggesting those seeing markets as a social event should seriously consider staying home.
In the latest move, the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association has recommended agents prohibit non-essential participants in livestock sales from attending any of their auctions.
"Put simply, this prohibition extends to members of the public until further notice," ALPA told its members in an email.
"We also insist that all visitors be required to sign a declaration prior to entering the saleyards entering their name, address and phone number."
ALPA has also requested auctioneers to make a clear and precise statement, before sales start, to all attendees to consider the health and safety of others, by maintaining at least one metre distance, not shaking hands and adopting proper hygienic practices.
ALPA also advised those most susceptible to the virus, such as the elderly, to reconsider attending sales.
Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy has advised governments all public gatherings of more than 500 people be banned.
Victorian Livestock Exchange managing director Wayne Osborne said saleyards staff at Pakenham, Leongatha and Warragul had been notified entry would be restricted to saleyard staff, stock agents, active buyers and transporters.
"We're asking onlookers and the general public to not come to the markets," Mr Osborne said.
We're asking onlookers and the general public to not come to the markets.
"Obviously this is not a step we particularly like taking, but we're sure that given the circumstances everyone appreciates why and recognises the need to do whatever we can to continue the operations of markets."
AAM Investment Group, managers and operators of the Regional Livestock Exchange network of livestock selling facilities, has announced what it said were minor, but important, management changes in response to COVID-19.
This included extending its online platform for remote sale-day participation, StockLive, across all sites and sales.
Viewing areas, using large digital screens, will also be established to reduce crowding in saleyard laneways and walkways.
AAM managing director Garry Edwards said there was "absolutely no intention" to cancel any sales at this point in time.
Australian Livestock Saleyards Association chairman Councillor Stuart McLean said the issue was on the organisation's agenda.
ALSA covers local government-owned and run saleyards.
"At this stage, we are continuing business as usual, until we get a direction otherwise," Councillor McLean said.
"If people follow all the public warnings that are out there, we will be able to manage saleyards at this point.
"But there could come a time when the process becomes different, and that needs to be revisited."
He said the ALSA executive had discussed rescheduling the annual conference, usually held in July or August.
Cr McLean said ALSA wanted to ensure all industry participants were safe.
"We will be guided by advice that comes from government or officials, as to what we need to do," he said.
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