The guidance for pet care businesses has again been updated following additional government advice.
The guidance, published by the Canine & Feline Sector Group and approved by Defra, can be seen in full here. Simply click the link 11.01.2021 Pet Business COVID-19 Guidance.
The group – which includes trade bodies the Pet Industry Federation and the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association – says the guidance ‘seeks to balance public health protection requirements and the need for businesses to keep working’.
The updated guidance covers in particular groomers, commercial dog day care, pet boarding establishments and home boarders, dog walkers, dog and cat breeders, rehoming and rescue organisations, microchip implanters, pet sitters, dog trainers – and pet shops selling livestock.
Pet stores are allowed to continue to sell pets ‘already in stock or coming through the supply chain’ – providing adequate recommended social distance and health precautions can be maintained at all times (2m should be adhered to).
A decision to sell small pets should be made on an individual basis, ‘having made a risk assessment of the pet shop’s ability to carry out the function in accordance with Government’s coronavirus safety guidelines and subject to the ability of staff on duty to provide informed care advice about the particular species being sold’.
Pet shops can also consider arrangements for home delivery of items.
Consideration must be given by breeders as to how the welfare of existing juvenile stock can be maintained while the coronavirus measures are in place and where necessary advice should be obtained on how best to maintain the health and welfare of the animals. This can be obtained from their breeder’s veterinary surgeon or, in the case of a licensed premises such as a pet shop, the veterinary surgeon assigned to the premises under the Licensing of Animal Activities Regulations.
Meanwhile, there remains no evidence that pets are implicated in the transmission of coronavirus to people and infection of a pet is rare, but that there is some risk of virus potentially being carried from person to person on pets and their belongings although scientific assessment is now that such transmission is relatively unlikely.
The risk of transmission between infected clients and business staff remains high, however, and the disease status of the client, if known, will assist in risk assessment.
Social distancing rules must be observed throughout every activity and, if it is safe to do so, any handovers should be done outside.
‘Activities to protect the welfare of animals are allowed’ but for any activity indoors where business owners and staff interact with clients both must wear a face covering.
In all circumstances where payment is included in a process, the use of cash should be avoided. Where possible payment should be made using a credit or debit card or by electronic banking.
Businesses should also check that your insurance company is prepared to cover you for any activity undertaken during this period.