The Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) and Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) released COVID-19 virus guidance for livestock markets as they are exempt from the Statewide Public Health Order Continuation on Gatherings issued by the Wyoming Department of Health on March 27, 2020.
Governor Gordon’s Executive Order on March 13, 2020 declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ordered the Director of the Wyoming Department of Health to take all appropriate and necessary actions to address threats to public health, safety, and welfare. Subsequently, the Wyoming Department of Health(WDH) issued a Statewide Public Health Order Continuation on Gatherings which forbids gatherings of more than 10 people and outlines best practices to slow the spread of the virus including maintaining six feet of space between individuals, avoiding touching faces, and covering coughs or sneezes with elbows or tissues.
Livestock auctions are exempted from the WDH order, but it is critical that livestock markets institute changes to protect their staff, sellers, and buyers. The WDA and WLSB, therefore, strongly recommend the following guidance for livestock markets:
- Familiarize yourself and follow local guidance regarding assembly of crowds that may differ from State and Federal guidance.
- Carefully consider if an auction could be postponed or hosted virtually and chose these alternatives if possible.
- Limit customer numbers to ensure enough space to maintain six feet of separation between people.
- Sellers should depart after unloading to view the sale online.
- Exchange of checks should be done through the mail or at least occur in the parking lot to avoid congregating customers.
- All employees, buyers and sellers must remain home if exhibiting symptoms of illness and vulnerable and immunocompromised individuals should exercise extreme caution to avoid gatherings.
- Provide ample opportunities for hand washing and disinfecting.
- Clean and disinfect all commonly used areas with particular attention to restrooms and ensuring restocking of soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
- Consider closing all areas of the auction market that are not necessary for the sale to prevent mingling and loitering.
- Provide staggered times for in-person viewing of stock that accommodates small groups.
- Clearly communicate and enforce your policies with special attention to your website and social media platforms.