PIG AND CALF OF THE PAST: Punters will be spaced 1.5 metres apart when the saleyards reopen in mid-June. Picture: David Martinell.
PIG AND CALF OF THE PAST: Punters will be spaced 1.5 metres apart when the saleyards reopen in mid-June. Picture: David Martinell.

Lyons St saleyards to reopen, with restrictions

THE rural community is set to take one big step back to normality when McDougall & Sons reopen the poultry, sheep and goat auctions on Wednesday, July 15.

The coronavirus-related closure of the Lyons St saleyards on March 25 dealt a "devastating" blow to rural residents, according to stock agent Ross Ellis.

Though restrictions made it difficult for producers to sell livestock during the lockdown, it was the social interaction regulars missed the most.

"It's somewhere people get to see each other once a week and keep in contact, and losing that was more the problem," Mr Ellis said.

At the height of the closure, agent Dennis Bourke said the saleyards were fielding calls every hour from people wondering when the Pig and Calf Sale would make a comeback.

When regulars return, however, the saleyards will look quite different.

"We've received really positive feedback (about the announcement), but we have to get them to understand that we have to do the social distancing and everything else," Mr Ellis said.

"It's going to be hard to get it going but we're all really excited."

Hand sanitising stations will be installed throughout the saleyards, agents will map out areas people can safely stand, and auctions will be held in an open area.

The general auction will not be returning until a later date because "it's too hard to keep the social distancing with those articles scattered about".

Further distancing measures will be used to keep livestock sellers and buyers separate.

"People who are selling will drop their stock off at an arranged time, then people buying can come in and have a look at them before the action," Mr Ellis said.

"We'll probably sell (the poultry) as lots, too, rather than the article in front of you.

"I think it will be fine - People are willing to go the extra bit to get things back to normal."

But the saleyards won't be counting their chickens before they hatch. The announcement is "subject to further planning and review".

"We need to work with the council to make sure we're right to go," Mr Ellis said.

"And we need to wait until the state government has lifted their bans on the gathering of people.

"Once that lifts, we're looking forward to getting back to normality."

For further information on the proposed reopening call the office on 4661 1411.



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