Racing Victoria (RV) wishes to advise of changes to the biosecurity protocols in place in Victoria to allow for the safe continuation of racing and training during the COVID pandemic.
The protocols serve to protect the health of industry staff, participants and the wider Victorian community; maintain 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs; and ensure daily care and exercise can be afforded to all thoroughbred racehorses.
These changes to industry protocols come following changes announced by the Victorian Government to public health directions.
Mandatory COVID Vaccination
The Victorian Government announced on 1 October 2021 that all Authorised Workers are required to be vaccinated against COVID.
The public health directions which give rise to this order came into effect at 11.59pm (AET) on Thursday, 7 October 2021 and require Authorised Workers to have had their first COVID vaccination by 15 October 2021 and their second by 26 November 2021. The public health directions can be viewed here.
The continuation of racing during the COVID pandemic has been permitted under directions that determine that participants within the Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Industry (VTRI) are Authorised Workers.
Accordingly, it is now a legal requirement of the State for participants in the VTRI to be vaccinated against COVID as designated Authorised Workers.
As a result of the change to Victorian law, the vaccination dates for the condition of entry requirement for licensed, registered and permitted participants and RV staff that was announced on 15 September 2021, have been brought forward 24 hours to align with the Government mandate of 15 October 2021 (first dose) and 26 November 2021 (second dose).
The above is also subject to the discretion of the Stewards. Where, following a risk review, it is determined that an earlier date for vaccination be adopted as a control to mitigate health and safety risks, this will be advised by the Stewards to relevant participants.
Victorian & New South Wales Cross-Border Community
The Victorian Government announced changes on 8 October 2021 to the border bubble between Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).
From 11.59pm (AEDT) last night (8 October 2021) the five Victorian Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Benalla, Greater Bendigo, Buloke, Loddon, and Yarriambiack have re-joined the Victorian-NSW border bubble.
The five NSW LGAs of Hay, Edward River, Lockhart, Murrumbidgee, and the City of Wagga Wagga will also be part of the border bubble.
In addition, residents of the updated Victorian-NSW cross border community will be permitted to enter Victoria without a permit subject to compliance with a range of conditions outlined by the Victorian Government at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/information-cross-border-communities.
If you are a resident of NSW or Victoria who qualifies for the Victorian Government’s cross border community exception, you will be permitted to attend Victorian racecourses and licensed premises without having to isolate or obtain a negative test, subject at all times to Victorian and NSW Government restrictions (which may be updated from time to time), and provided that:
- you have not been in an orange, red or extreme risk zone outside of the cross-border area over the last 14 days;
- you have not been at a Tier 1 exposure site over the last 14 days;
- you have not been at a Tier 2 exposure site and if so, you have isolated and returned a negative test result since that time;
- you are not feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19;
- you are not awaiting a COVID-19 test result or otherwise being required to isolate; and
- you have not been in close contact with anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test result, has tested positive to COVID-19 or is otherwise required to self-isolate (including due to having been at an exposure site or in a red or extreme risk zone).
Changes to Orange Zone requirements
RV wishes to advise that changes have been made to the industry’s biosecurity protocols regarding licensed, registered and permitted participants who have visited a designated orange zone before arriving in/returning to Victoria.
Participants travelling from an orange zone will be required to isolate upon arrival and obtain a negative COVID test within 72 hours. Participants must refrain from attending a racecourse or licensed premises in Victoria until they have received clearance from RV Stewards upon receipt of the participant’s negative test result.
Previously, participants travelling from an orange zone were not permitted to attend a racecourse or licensed premises in Victoria until such time as they had presented a negative test result on day six.
Participants must continue to follow all Government requirements which can be found here: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-travel-permit-system
Trainers are reminded that the prohibition on owners and non-essential persons (including media) attending licensed premises (including registered training properties and stables) remains in place across Victoria until otherwise advised.
RV continues to monitor the situation both interstate and within Victoria and will make changes to the industry’s biosecurity protocols as required to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training in Victoria.
Where changes are made further updates will be provided, so please remain alert to further communications from RV and/or the Victorian Government.
All participants in Victoria are asked to follow all public health advice and to stay home and get tested if they, or any close contact, is unwell and displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.