GRANT District Council has swept in tough new measures at the Glenburnie livestock exchange to safeguard it from a potential coronavirus lockdown.
Essential staff, livestock agents, livestock carriers, canteen operators and meat-buyers today will be the only people allowed into the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards.
Onlookers and farmers seeking to purchase a pen of livestock will be prohibited from walking through the gates.
Mount Gambier Combined Agents chair Chris Manser said these restrictions were backed by the industry given the saleyards was as an “essential” part of the red meat supply chain.
“We need to keep saleyards operating to safeguard the supply of high-quality meat both in Australia and overseas,” Mr Manser said.
The prominent livestock agent said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had announced saleyards must remain operating.
“The only people we want out there are meat-buyers, agents and their clerical staff and truck drivers,” Mr Manser told The Border Watch yesterday.
He said this meant onlookers would be restricted and farmers who wanted to buy stock needed to go through an agent.
“If a farmer requires livestock, they should contact their preferred agent who can place an order,” Mr Manser said.
Council deputy chief executive officer Jane Fetherstonhaugh reiterated the need to ensure the saleyards remained operating through the COVID-19 health crisis.
“So many livelihoods depend on it. We do not want to see livestock going straight to abattoir because the market will suffer,” Ms Fetherstonhaugh explained.
She warned there was a potential for the saleyards to be shut down if a positive case emerged.
According to council, all people at the saleyards must maintain a 1.5 metre distance from others “at all times”.
People entering the site will need to sign in and out, with only those involved with the sale being permitted entry.
These people will be provided with an identification badge which must be worn at all times while on site.
The truck wash will remain operational, however, all truck drivers are required to adhere to the 1.5 metre social distancing requirements and wear gloves when washing trucks.
The canteen will supply takeaway meals.
“The saleyards are putting these measures in place to make sure we can still buy and sell animals and stay open for business, keeping the agricultural supply chains operating,” Ms Fetherstonhaugh said.
“If it is not necessary for you to be at the saleyards you should not be there.
“Those that are there need to practice social distancing as best they can.”
A store sale is scheduled to be held at the saleyards next Wednesday.