Racing Victoria (RV) on Monday advised of changes to the biosecurity protocols in place in Victoria to allow for the safe continuation of racing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protocols, which are developed in accordance with all current Government directives, guidelines and advice, serve to protect the health of industry staff, participants and the wider community; maintain 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs; and ensure daily care and exercise can be afforded to all thoroughbred racehorses.
The protocols are continually reviewed based on Government directives, risk analysis, industry compliance, participant feedback and the broader community landscape.
The order prohibiting any person who has been interstate from attending a racecourse or licensed premises in Victoria until they have completed 14 days of self-isolation remains in place, however an exemption is now being provided for border residents who are licensed, registered or employed within Victoria.
The following took effect at 11.59pm on Sunday, 20 September 2020 and applies to Victorian licensed, registered or employed border residents only, that is, border residents who are permitted, pursuant to current State Government restrictions, to cross the Victorian border with New South Wales and/or South Australia (Border Residents):
Victorian thoroughbred racing industry (VTRI) participants (including RV employees) who are Border Residents are permitted to cross the border into NSW or SA provided:
• they have not attended any race meetings within, or otherwise entered, the Greater Melbourne Stage 4 region in the last 14 days;
• they do not attend any Racing NSW or TRSA licensed premises; and
• they remain within the designated border region and adhere to all Government restrictions.
VTRI participants (including RV employees) who are Border Residents are permitted to cross the NSW or SA border into Victoria provided that:
• they have not attended any Racing NSW or TRSA licensed premises within the last 14 days; and
• they do not attend any race meetings within the Greater Melbourne Stage 4 region.
Victorian licensed trainers who reside in NSW or SA and wish to have a starter at a race meeting staged within the Greater Melbourne Stage 4 region must do the following:
• have their horse(s) placed in the care of a properly authorised person pursuant to the Rules of Racing; and
• have the horse(s) transported to the race meeting in accordance with the Racing Victoria COVID-19 Protocols for Industry Participants & Service Providers.
The racetracks located in the Greater Melbourne Stage 4 region are Flemington, Caulfield, Sandown, The Valley, Werribee, Yarra Valley, Mornington, Cranbourne and Pakenham.
Since 23 March 2020, all jump-outs have been restricted to ‘local horses’, being only those prepared at the training centre or where the trainer has nominated the centre for their grass gallops.
This protocol has been updated with immediate effect to clarify that a horse will not be considered a ‘local horse’ unless and until it has been stabled at the relevant training centre or local stable for a minimum of five (5) days.
“Following the changes made by State Governments around cross border communities and the introduction of border regions, we’re now in a position to provide a travel exemption to Victorian licensed participants and employees who reside near the border," said RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson.
“The premise of the exemption is that Victorian licensed and registered border residents cannot attend licensed premises in New South Wales or South Australia when they cross the border and must remain within the designated border regions.
“Those Victorian licensed and registered persons who live and/or travel outside the border region, along with all interstate and international participants and staff, are still subject to the broader prohibitions on attendance at racecourses and licensed premises when they enter Victoria.
“As we’ve done throughout the pandemic, we’ll continue to review our protocols on an ongoing basis and take into account the latest advice and case numbers to determine what is best for the safe continuation of racing and training in Victoria.”