When it comes to the lockdown from the government in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, some industries have been allowed to continue.

One such industry is one of the biggest in Oswestry – the livestock auction in Shrewsbury Road, which has continued to buy and sell to keep the food chain operating while supermarkets come under heavy pressure over panic buying and demand for goods.

Even in the 21st century alone, farming and the food industry has come under huge pressures – two outbreaks of foot-and-mouth in 2001 and 2007, plus other diseases which placed a heavy burden of livestock sales.

So when it comes to operating under heavy restrictions, it is one industry that is already prepared for the worst and has already adapted, according to leading auctioneer, Jon Bevan.

"I'm one of the auctioneers and have been doing for 15 years now," said Jon, who works for Bowen, Son and Watson.

"I was in the industry during foot-and-mouth disease, though I wasn't in Oswestry for it.

"But this is the first time I've seen something impact on the industry that isn't to do with the animals themselves.

"We've had various outbreaks for them: we had another foot-and-mouth in 2007, we had restrictions because of bluetongue and with tuberculosis, which brought major restrictions, but this is the first human transmission issue we've had to deal with.

"Outside of the health service, we're one industry that's in place to deal with this, in terms of keeping food production going and the the supply chain fed.

I"t's a different set of challenges currently but hopefully we've set up a system that can work through the next weeks, months or however it goes on for, really."

New rules means only buyers and sellers can attend market, while anyone who has displayed symptoms of COVID-19 has been told to stay away, as have anyone over the age of 70 and pregnant women.

Staff at the auction site are now responsible for the moving of livestock, while sellers stay in their vehicles, but Jon says they have adapted quickly.

He added: "People have adapted quickly, to be fair. We're happy with how the farmers and customers who are buying and selling stock have been happy to abide by all of the rules, and have respected them very well.

"Last Wednesday, we had a our second week of the rules but people just reversed up with their trailers, dropped their stock off, and then left them to us to sort out and sell.

"We had a successful day, though obviously it's not as busy as we'd like. The market is a little bit strange at the moment, with their being no restaurants or pubs open, but certain elements of the beef trade is moving quite well but others aren't."

Jon says the decision to remain open under heavy restrictions is needed for both professional and personal reasons and echoed the thoughts of the Oswestry Livestock Auctions and the Livestock Auctioneers Association in thanking everyone who has adapted.

"It's vital the market is allowed to continue because it brings transparency to the industry, it allows farmers an outlet for their stock rather than selling straight to the abattoirs," he continued.

"From a business point of view – for the farmers and for us – it's a vital too. Though we are running a service, it's important that farmers around the ring have that social aspect.

"It has to be monitored as for a lot of farmers, it can only be one of the few social places they go to during the week, so it's important from that point of view as well.

"During TB and bluetongue, there were restrictions applied on farmers, who were not allowed to sell stock [that was infected].

"That had an impact on them, and on us because they were unable to sell. With regard to foot-and-mouth, no one was able to sell because we were shut down completely for months, and I hope it's not the case here.

"But we know we've all got to do our part to stem the virus.

"We're really thankful to our sellers, our buyers and our staff for helping us to do this by respecting the rules that have been set out.

"Through the LAA we also had an email last week from Defra thanking us for respecting the rules and shows that they want us to carry on selling too."