COVID-19 Update: Raceday and trackwork attendance in Victoria
Racing Victoria (RV) has today provided an update regarding the separation measures in place at Victorian race meetings under the industry’s COVID-19 biosecurity protocols, along with owner attendance at trackwork.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a participant bubble has been in place on raceday as one of a number of controls implemented by the industry to mitigate the risk of a case or cluster impacting the safe continuation of Victorian racing.
Having reviewed the current risks to Victorian racing and considered its latest health advice, the industry’s COVID-19 working group has determined that the participant bubble will cease at 11.59pm (AEDT) tonight, 31 January 2021.
Tomorrow’s race meeting at Donald will be the first where the racecourse will not be separated under the industry’s biosecurity protocols, the remainder of which will continue to apply as they have to date.
Further information on the biosecurity protocols that remain in place to safeguard Victorian racing are available on the RV website at racingvictoria.com.au/covid19.
While the removal of the participant bubble is a notable step for the industry, at this stage there will be minimal change to the raceday experience for attendees.
The Victorian Government’s Public Events Framework currently permits spectators, including owners, to attend race meetings on the basis that they have an allocated seat (be that indoor or an outdoor picnic area) and are not free roaming.
There are currently only four approved reasons for spectators (which includes owners) to leave their seat - to eat, drink, place a bet or use the restrooms – and these have not changed.
For owners this means that entry to the mounting yard and visits to the tie-up stalls currently remain prohibited.
Subject to each Club’s COVID-safe plan, there may now be opportunities for trainers or their staff, who are designated essential workers, to visit owners at their allocated seat and discuss the participation of their horse at the race meeting.
Social distancing and other COVID-safe measures adopted by the industry continue to apply at all times and compliance with these measures will be actively monitored and enforced.
Both RV and the Clubs remain in active discussions with the Victorian Government on the requirements of their Public Events Framework and are continuing to advocate for opportunities for owners to access additional areas on raceday, whilst maintaining a COVID-safe environment for all.
With the removal of the participant bubble, it has also been determined that attendance by owners at trackwork will once again be permitted from 11.59pm (AEDT) tonight, 31 January 2021.
Clubs will regulate attendance based on their individual COVID-safe plans and health and safety requirements.
As previously communicated, registered Victorian owners are also permitted to attend jump-outs, official trials and public and private training centres for the primary purpose of visiting their horse provided that they only attend the stables of their licensed trainer and they notify them in advance.
The situation regarding the pandemic is a dynamic one and as a result all protocols will need to be continually reviewed by the industry’s COVID-19 working group to ensure their suitability and the safe continuation of Victorian racing.
All licensed participants and owners in Victoria are asked to continue to follow all public health advice and to stay home and get tested if they, or anyone they live with, is unwell and displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.