AUCTION marts across the region are attempting to run business as usual – but with extra measures to keep buyers, sellers and staff safe.

Marts in Northallerton, Leyburn and Thirsk all reported their major sales were going ahead, and even that trade was busy due to the demand for meat to feed the nation.

Company secretary of Northallerton Auction Mart, Brian Weighell, said the mart remained busy.

"It was very busy on Tuesday. As long as we are allowed to we will continue to work."

Rachael Simpson, company secretary of Leyburn Auction Mart, said they were also carrying on, while taking extra care of staff and customers.

She said: "It is business as usual, to a fashion. We don't people hanging around after sales so we have closed the cafe and ask that people move on as quickly as possible.

"It is important for us to stay open for as long as we can. We are asking just buyers and sellers to come to auctions, and have asked some of our more vulnerable members of staff not to come in."

At Thirsk Auction Mart, it is a similar picture with the cafe being shut – which is a major blow for older customers who regularly attend to eat dinner together.

A staff member at the mart said: "The cafe is a real community hub so it is very sad to see it close.

"We are also limiting who can come into the mart for sales, as per advice from the Livestock Auctioneers' Association."

Hawes Auction Mart has also issued guidance via its website that while auction will go ahead as planned, only vendors, buyers and hauliers should attend – with a particular emphasis that no children or visitors should attend.

The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) has reported that to date it has had no reports of any concerns relating to Coronavirus, and as such it is business as usual, following the necessary precautions and UK Government guidance.

A spokesman for the LAA said: "We are maintaining regular contact with all of our member companies, ensuring adequate facilities for washing hands with soap and water are available, and guidance notices are provided for members of the public.

"Unless recommendations or instructions from the UK Government change, we will continue to support our members to provide a safe environment for the trading of livestock.

"The LAA continues to monitor the guidelines and recommendations being made by the Government.

"Restrictions on public gatherings have been implemented in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. However, it is business as usual in England and Wales.

"We are a vital element in the food supply chain and must be responsible businesses."

The LAA recommends that all members provides hand washing facilities; keep public areas clean; and anyone unwell does not attend.