Auction mart businesses across Scotland are open and trading normally despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), the trade body which represents all of Scotland’s auction mart firms, is working closely with its members to support them in minimising disruption to trade while also taking all steps necessary to protect the health of staff and customers.

While people should check individual arrangements with their local auctioneers, it has been recommended that only those conducting direct business enter marts and that everyone attending follows the latest public health advice, including that surrounding hand washing and social distancing.

People displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, who have had contact with those displaying symptoms or who have recently returned from high-risk areas, are being asked not to attend marts.

Auctioneers, meanwhile, are on-hand to support those in groups deemed as vulnerable and advised not to attend any public gatherings to discuss what arrangements can be put in place to allow them to trade livestock and ensure continuity to their businesses.

Members have also been advised to display advice notices around their sites, which already encourage high standards of health, safety and biosecurity.

IAAS executive director Neil Wilson said: “Our marts are open, are trading and customers should continue to use them. In line with the latest government guidance, our members – who play a key part in the food supply chain – are working hard to ensure minimum disruption while monitoring and adapting to public health advice as it is shared.

“As a sector, we take our responsibilities surrounding peoples’ health and wellbeing seriously. That is why we are asking all those with whom we do business to also act responsibly and follow public health advice – including regular hand-washing – while at marts and in their lives generally.

“While the backdrop is concerning for every business in every sector, auctioneers across the country are on-hand to help vendors and purchasers through any issues they face. They have the support of the Institute to provide a safe environment for the trading of livestock, which is a critical part of Scotland’s rural economy.”

IAAS is contacting the Scottish Government to offer any input it can to the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and insight into the impact on the rural economy of any measures which have – or may be – put in place.

For details of specific sales or events, IAAS advises contacting the individual auction companies.