Restrictions tighten as vendors are kept out

Restrictions tighten as vendors are kept out

Sales
DOORS LOCKED: Crowds at store cattle sales have dwindled since this photo was taken in March.

DOORS LOCKED: Crowds at store cattle sales have dwindled since this photo was taken in March.

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Vendors won't be allowed back into some saleyards for a while.

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Operators of a saleyard in the centre of one of Victoria's coronavirus hotspots has delayed its decision to reopen the facility to the public.

The Victorian Livestock Exchange said it would revert to its "strongest restrictions yet" after the the Cardinia Shire Council, which incorporates Pakenham, was deemed in the top six municipalities for COVID-19 transmission.

Stock & Land understands the VLE was only weeks away from reopening its facilities at to vendors at Pakenham and Koonwarra when the state government announced the reintroduction of tougher restrictions at the weekend following a jump in infections.

VLE acting chief executive Brian Paynter said crowds would be restricted from both saleyards during store and prime sales.

"We're now back in place with our strongest restrictions yet and they will remain in place for the foreseeable future," Mr Paynter said.

"That means only professional buyers and agents will be allowed in the saleyards and we've even asked agents that they check their lists and only have people at the saleyards that they absolutely needed."

Mr Paynter, the former state member for Bass, said the VLE would also hold discussions with agents about the possibility of selling cattle through the sale ring at Pakenham.

Up until a month ago, agents had opted to auction cattle through the ring to increase distances between buyers, as opposed to through the pens.

Wool auctions

Meanwhile, at Melbourne's wool selling centre, restrictions are likely to remain in place until the three-week July recess, and possibly through to August.

"There have been no restrictions on auctions per se for wool and auctions have continued through the restrictions but we have followed strict hygiene and social distancing requirements," National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox said.

"The only people that can attend the sale are those essential to the sale including wool broker auction staff and wool buyers.

"Nobody else is permitted to attend including clients and observers."

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