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Spectators to return to Victorian race meetings from this weekend

Racing Victoria (RV) and Country Racing Victoria (CRV) are pleased to announce the resumption of spectator attendance at Victorian race meetings under COVIDSafe protocols from this Saturday, 28 November 2020.

Under the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 Public Events Framework, Racing Clubs can welcome limited spectators to attend where they have an approved COVIDSafe Event Plan or have completed and registered a COVIDSafe Event Checklist depending on the number of attendees and the event’s risk profile.

We are pleased to welcome up to 500 spectators to the following race meetings this weekend:

  • Saturday, 28 November – Yarra Valley
  • Sunday, 29 November – Warrnambool (Jericho Cup)

In the interests of providing a COVIDSafe environment, the initial raceday experience will be a unique one. Spectators will be allocated a specific seat and will be unable to move around the racecourse, unless there is a specific reason, such as purchasing food. Clubs will also enact their COVIDSafe plans to ensure that appropriate hygiene and physical distancing arrangements are in-place and records are kept to enable contact tracing. Attendees should carry face masks with them at all times for indoor use and where they are unable to meet safe distancing requirements outdoors.

To support this, RV will continue to segregate the racecourse between spectators and racing participants in the immediate future with this requirement to be regularly reviewed.

It is up to each Racing Club to decide whether they wish to submit an application for spectators to attend having considered their ability to satisfy the necessary COVIDSafe requirements and/or undertake appropriate pre-promotion.

The first metropolitan race meeting to welcome up to 500 spectators is Sandown on 2 December, being the opening Wednesday twilight meeting of the racing season. Echuca races on the same day is expecting to also welcome up to 500 spectators. Both Racing Clubs have submitted a COVIDSafe Event checklist for their event.

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome spectators back to Victorian race meetings for the first time since early March this weekend at Yarra Valley and Warrnambool, which paves the way for other meetings in the weeks ahead.

“This is an important milestone for our industry in the COVID-19 challenge and we thank the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, and the Victorian Government both for this opportunity and their support of Victorian racing during the pandemic.

“Everyone in Victorian racing has worked incredibly hard to safely continue racing and training throughout the pandemic was has helped protect the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs across Victoria. The return of spectators is further reward for their efforts.

“In the initial period it will be a different experience for those spectators who attend a race meeting with some restrictions on their movements, but it is important for the community and our sport that we make these initial steps in a safe and responsible manner.”

CRV Chief Executive, Scott Whiteman, said: “Like all racing fans, our Clubs have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to safely welcome back some spectators and it’s fantastic that Yarra Valley and Warrnambool will be first to do that this weekend.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for our Country Clubs so the resumption of spectator attendance is really important as we enter the summer period with many Clubs scheduled to host popular community race meetings in the months ahead.

“The opportunity to have up to 500 spectators at a race meeting is a welcome first step and we hope to be able to build upon that number in the weeks and months ahead should Victoria remain on top of the virus.”

RV explained that Racing Clubs who apply and are approved for spectators to attend their meeting will publicise the details of this on their website and communicate directly to their members. This will be supported by communication to owners via their acceptance emails.