There are several driving factors behind our decision to continue with online only auctions.
First, the governor did not lift the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people at this time. While some callers argued that we could skirt around that ban by saying we are a “retail store” and limiting capacity to 50%, I see several problems with that approach. Even if we use the retail store tag and limit capacity, the CDC and government have placed guidelines that would make a live auction very difficult to carry out. The National Auctioneers Association issued guidelines for when live auctions begin and they also line up with the CDC recommendations of everyone wearing mask (except the auctioneer), everyone maintaining 6’ spacing, etc.
As we go in and out of retail stores, we are expected to wear mask, not because we are afraid of the virus but simply out of respect for others. We could have the virus and be a-symptomatic and never know it. I wouldn’t want to take a chance of spreading this virus to someone else, to whom it could be life threatening. The thought of everyone at an auction wearing a mask (besides being funny) and keeping 6 feet away from other bidders (How is that going to work?), doesn’t sound like much fun.
Auctions are a great social event as well as a place to buy your treasures.
Another and equally as concerning problem is attendance. While I’m sure a live auction would draw most of the die-hard auction fans & dealers, we have worked hard to build up a crowd of retail buyers for our auctions. Some of this audience would be considered more vulnerable to this virus and would probably choose to stay home, thus decreasing the bidders. We have a responsibility to our consignors to try and reach as many people as possible for an auction.
We want to remain a place where auction die-hards can bid and buy as well as a place where an auction novice feels comfortable bidding and making a purchase.
At this time we feel online only auctions best provide this atmosphere.
One final note.
Green Valley has been having live auctions for over 50 years and we can’t wait to get back to them. In the meanwhile we will continue to do our best to serve both our sellers and buyers in a safe and accessible format with online auctions. During this period of states reopening there is sure to be disagreements about how and when places should open. It is my prayer that during this time we would all show grace to one another. Scripture tells us to put others interest before our own. Jesus was the ultimate example of this when He gave up His rights and died on the cross for our sins. Yeah, I can suffer through wearing a mask into the store a little longer.