Marts will continue to operate as normal.
The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society Ltd (ICOS) has said that marts will continue to operate under the new stricter guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
In a statement issued this afternoon (March 12), ICOS said: "We are committed to taking every step necessary to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone associated with our marts nationwide.
"We have appropriate measures in place and are continuing to follow all protocols recommended by the health authorities. In view of guidance issued today (12th March 2020) by the Government and HSE, we will be putting a range of additional measures in place as follows:
"We kindly ask that only ‘trading customers’ should attend marts until further notice, i.e. only those buying or selling livestock.
"We most respectfully ask non-trading patrons to refrain from visiting until further notice up to 29th March 2020 when further guidance will be provided."
ICOS said the number of people attending individual mart ringsides at any one time will be limited to 100, which will be managed on a strict rotation system, i.e. using admission cards which will be rotated among patrons at the entrance / exit to the mart ringside or other such monitoring methods as devised by the mart.
"In conclusion, rural Ireland is renowned for its great community spirit. Please stay in touch with your neighbours and friends, perhaps best by phone, email, social media, and particularly with the elderly to ensure their care and wellbeing while observing all necessary HSE guidelines."