Racing Victoria (RV) on Friday afternoon advised of an update to the biosecurity protocols in place in Victoria to allow for the safe continuation of racing and training 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 risk analysis, industry compliance, participant feedback and the broader community landscape.
RV on Friday announced that protocols pertaining to face masks and owner attendance will be updated as follows:
The State Government announced on Thursday that a face covering will be mandatory when leaving home for all Victorians from Sunday, 2 August at 11.59pm.
Therefore, from Monday, 3 August 2020, the wearing of face masks by licensed participants, service providers and staff will be compulsory at training centres and Licensed Premises across Victoria.
Jockeys and track riders engaged in trackwork and jump-outs at training centres and Licensed Premises are not required to wear a face mask whilst on horseback, unless they receive a specific directive from the host Club. All riders are required to wear a face mask whilst on the ground.
The wearing of face masks remains compulsory at all times at all Victorian race meetings for all attendees excluding jockeys. It is compulsory for jockeys to wear a face mask at all times on raceday, excluding during the conduct of a race unless a rider seeks to exercise their discretion to do so.
RV will continue to facilitate the distribution of single-use face masks to participants and officials upon arrival at each race meeting. Alternatively, participants may choose to wear their own masks or face coverings, provided they remain on at all times.
Following yesterday’s announcement by the Victorian Government, the protocols allowing limited owner attendance at Victorian race meetings have been updated with immediate effect as follows:
• Owners who reside in metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell Shire and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe are not permitted to attend any race meeting in Victoria until otherwise advised; and
• The order prohibiting owners from attending race meetings at Flemington, Caulfield, Sandown, The Valley, Werribee, Yarra Valley, Mornington, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Kilmore and Seymour has been extended to include Geelong and Colac.
Owners who reside outside of metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell Shire, Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe will continue to be allowed to attend Victorian race meetings located outside of those 13 racetracks.
Permitted owners will continue to be bound by the protocols published by RV on 22 June 2020 including the requirement for pre-registration; limits on the number of owners and time spent on course; adherence to all social gathering guidelines; and segregation from all racing participants.
RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “Today’s changes to our protocols around face masks and owner attendance are in line with the latest Government directives and our desire to safely continue training and racing throughout the pandemic for the benefit of the 110,000 people employed or participating in Victorian thoroughbred racing.
“We have seen over the past week that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, so I would again like to reiterate to all industry participants and officials the critical importance of staying at home if they feel unwell; if they have been tested and are awaiting results; or if they are a close contact of a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case.
“The industry has done an outstanding job over the past four months safely conducting 187 race meetings since the introduction of biosecurity protocols, however we must all continue to play our part, remain vigilant and do the right thing to ensure that racing and training can safely continue.”