Dealers were able to reopen in Wales on June 22. However, auction houses remain on the list of businesses yet to fully reopen.
A Welsh Government spokesperson told ATG discussions on how to “lower the risk of the transmission of coronavirus” in auction houses will “inform the Welsh Government’s considerations in preparation for the next review of the coronavirus regulations on July 30”.
Many Welsh auction houses have, in various formats, continued to trade across the lockdown ahead of the official reopening hoped for later this summer.
Rogers Jones in Cardiff and Colwyn Bay has been open to the public by pre-arranged appointment-only with bidding conducted online-only.
Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said: “When visitors arrive there is social distancing and hygiene measures in place. There is no bidding in the room for the time being, only internet bidding. With this system employed I feel that we are safer than the retail sector which is open in Wales.
“The health of our team and clients comes first, and so there is no urgency as far as we are concerned to return to either room bidding, or unannounced visits.
“The customer feedback we have received from buyers and sellers to our temporary business methods has been very positive. Online sales have been fantastic and as we know the market has proved to be robust in response. I do feel that we have met the challenges head on and have organised and equipped ourselves very well.”
Peter Francis in Carmarthen has also been operating under strict guidelines.
Nigel Hodson, managing principal at Peter Francis, said: “We opened three weeks ago when other non-essential retail businesses were allowed to open. We are behind locked doors with all visits, including viewing of sales strictly by appointment, with social distancing and numbers very limited.
“The auctions are online-only with commission and phone bidding also available. Collection of lots is also by appointment and buyers are not allowed in the saleroom with items moved to the loading bay.
“We are making house valuation calls and van collections as the biggest concern is to keep the flow of lots coming through - buyers seem to be out there wanting to spend money. When doing so we are very careful, adhering to social distancing protocols.
“The protection of both staff and customers is paramount. We are valuing many things from images, as we have been all through lockdown, and many of those lots are coming forward for sale now.
“Online has really saved the day as far as our industry is concerned and we are pleased to have taken it up more than 10 years ago and extended its use earlier this year.
“We must all be sensible and keep safe, looking forward to a busy and stimulating future.”