Farmers at marts run by ICOS Co-operative Marts and Associated Livestock Marts (ALM) are being asked to wear face coverings from now on.

While the wearing of face coverings in marts is not mandatory, and most marts involve outdoor areas, the marts feel it is wise to encourage all their patrons to wear coverings when around the auction ring and in mart offices.

The recommended coverings include disposable or cloth masks which thoroughly cover the mouth and nose, or a plastic see-through face visor, in line with public health guidelines.

We must all do whatever we can to minimise the spread of COVID-19

In a joint statement, Ray Doyle of ICOS and Eric Driver of ALM said: “The reintroduction of COVID-19 restriction measures in the midlands indicates the continuing potential for infection to take place in communal settings.

“Everyone is delighted that the marts are back in operation because they play such an important part in the free trade of livestock and the economy of rural Ireland.”

They added that face coverings help prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others and reminded farmers of the need to maintain good sneeze and cough etiquette and to follow all public health guidelines, including regular and thorough hand washing.

“We must all do whatever we can to minimise the spread of COVID-19, so we’re asking people to stay safe, protect each other and mask up in the marts.”

Farmers attending marts in the three counties affected by the local COVID-19 lockdown - Laois, Kildare and Offaly - must use face masks since last Friday's restrictions were introduced.

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