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Covid-19: Advice and Supports for Equine Owners, Employers and Employees

COVID-19 is currently causing unprecedented disruption to equine events, and businesses. It is an exceptionally challenging time and the long-term effects have yet to be revealed. Equine personnel are strongly encouraged to follow all of the current government guidelines to protect their own health, and that of others within their communities. It is difficult to reference advice specific to each individual situation.

Information provided here is hoped to offer some general advice and practical tips; whilst also providing links to other supports and information available. At an individual level we must all act with wise heads, and with a considered and conscientious approach to movement of both humans and horses at this time. 


 

General advice to navigate Covid-19

Some simple protocols that you can put in place which will hopefully help those managing equine enterprises to navigate this challenging period. Take steps to protect your own health, the health of family, employees, clients, horses and business. Some useful links to financial supports are also available here.

View the publication here Some recommendations to protect the health of humans, horses and business from the effects of Covid-19:


 

Latest updates and advice 

See below short updates of both information and advisory notes for equine owners and employees.

Roadmap for re-opening society and business here

National Business Support Centre

A national business support centre has been established for businesses who have queries and can be contacted at 01 6312002 or by email infobusinesssupport@bei.gov.ie  Read more here

Equestrian Covid-19 Signage

Available here

Equestrian Sports included in Phase 1 Re-Opening (updated May 13th 2020)

Read more here

Equestrian Sport-Ready Submission

Horse Sport Ireland safe sport resumption document submitted to government can be accessed here

Government outlines further measures to support businesses impacted by Covid-19

Read more here

Export of Horses (updated Monday April 20th 2020)

Resumption of the issuing of export certificates is now in place with some flexibility in arrangements agreed, subject to on-going review during the Covid-19 situation. 

Certification for movements to the EU will be processed by local Regional Vet Offices R.V.O. Contact Details

Certification for movements to Third Countries e.g. Australia and China will continue to be processed by the Live Trade Division of DAFM

Guidance notes have been issued to registered operators. 

What can I do now to prepare for return to normal business?

  • Revisit your promotional materials ensuring they communicate your unique selling points, and are compelling in their 'call to action'
  • Update content and imagery on websites - pages can be kept dormant until required
  • Clean up your database of contacts  - segment if necessary ensuring most relevant messages get to the right people (Ensure you are GDPR compliant)
  • Thinking ahead to return to business compose sample social media posts, collate suitable images, and consider posts that could be used seasonally for your business
  • Create a return to trading plan for your business/enterprise with key priorities for each member of the team

Where to focus your business in stessed or distressed conditions

The Resilience Wheel

DAFM Covid-19 helpline for farmers

DAFM have a new dedicated information helpline for farmers to seek information. The phone number is 076 1064468 and will open from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

 

Personnel Travel in relation to work or care of horses

  • Essential service providers permitted to travel under current restrictions include farmers, farm labourers and farm relief service workers and those involved directly or indirectly in animal production and related activities (those in vulnerable categories should not attend for work currently)
  • Travel relating to horse care, necessary supplies for horse care, and urgent veterinary visits are deemed necessary. Veterinary Council of Ireland members will be guided by the guidelines issed on Mar 28th for the 'stay at home' period.
  • Anyone travelling in an employment capacity for the welfare and care of horses should carry a letter from their employer (on headed paper with employer contact details) detailing that they are carrying out work in the area of agriculture and care of animals.

Transport of Horses

  • DAFM have confirmed that there is no restriction of movement of animals within the country for farming purposes, including breeding, as long as the H.S.E. public health guidelines are observed
  • Only travel where deemed absolutely necessary. If the journey can be postponed then postpone.
  • Only one person should travel with a horse, where it is safe to do so
  • Those in the vulnerable categories, including those medically vulnerable and those aged over 70 should not travel currently.
  • Carry personal photo ID, and horse passport
  • Carry hand sanitiser, and disposable gloves.
  • Communicate in advance of arrival at another premises to agree a protocol for handover which does not require human interaction.
    • Remain in the vehicle and have the horse unloaded (or loaded if collecting) by the personnel of the farm. These personnel should also wear disposable gloves when interacting with your vehicle and horse tack. As an additional precaution on return home wear disposable gloves when unloading and irrespective of gloves being used by personnel at the other farm or not, disinfect touch zones of your horse transport vehicle as a precautionary and put tack aside for cleaning or out of circulation for 72 hours.
      Or 
    • Unload the horse to a dedicated stable at the premises, sanitise hands before unloading, wear disposable gloves, remove gloves before re-entering your vehicle to avoid potentially contaminating touch zones of your own vehicle, sanitise hands again on return to the vehicle. Do this procedure in reverse for collection and as per above take care with any tack used by the visit farm. 
    • Safely removing protective gloves

DAFM Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions

DAFM has publshed a set of Frequently Asked Questions on the Covid-19 section of their website here

Revenue Covid-19 Supports

Employer Covid-19 Refund Scheme

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy SchemeFAQs  and Employer Eligibility and Supporting Proofs

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection helpline 1890 800 024 OR 01 2481398

Citizen's Information helpline 0761 074000

Additional guidance on Covid-19 Wage Subsidy

Navigating Covid-19 Wage Subsidy

HSE Information Booklet

HSE Covid Information Booklet