The devastating coronavirus outbreak destroying entire Australian industries will not stop livestock sales and wool auctions going ahead.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government was working tirelessly to safeguard the supply chain from farm to market.
He warned shutting down saleyards could smash the availability of meat and send prices through the roof.
Strict social distancing and personal hygiene protocols will still be enforced.
"I ask those involved to please consider if their livestock saleyards and wool auctions can be held online, remotely, deferred or be cancelled to do so," Mr Littleproud said on Friday.
"Agriculture and food security are critical to Australia at the best of times. They are even more so during this the COVID-19 crisis."
The livestock industry welcomed the announcement, saying everyone in contact with saleyards was acutely aware of the challenges posed by the public health emergency.
Industry representatives have agreed to limit attendance at sales to essential staff, accredited agents and buyers with a true intention to purchase.
Livestock transporters will also be allowed into saleyards to load and unload animals.
All others have been warned to stay away.
Meanwhile, rural doctors are warning isolated towns they are not immune from the spread of the virus.
"Cases of coronavirus have already been confirmed in numerous rural communities," Dr Adam Coltzau said.
"But some rural Australians are still walking around in La-La Land, thinking COVID-19 is only a big city issue.
"This couldn't be further from the truth."
Dr Coltzau is leading the COVID-19 response for the Rural Doctors Association of Australia and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
He said people in rural and remote communities should self-isolate at home where possible, and discourage family members from the cities or other regions from visiting.
"This will be a sure-fire way for the virus to spread," he said.
"It will also put incredible pressure on our local health services and hospitals if they fall ill with COVID-19 while in your community, and we can't guarantee we'll be able to provide the care they may need."
Australian Associated Press