I write to provide you with an update regarding the separation measures in place at Victorian race meetings under our 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 our 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.
Firstly, you must continue to pre-register should you wish to attend a race meeting where your horse is engaged and note that some restrictions may apply to the number of owners that can attend based on the Club’s approved attendance cap for the meeting.
Secondly, 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.
Please note that both RV and the Clubs remain in active discussions with the Victorian Government on the requirements of their Public Events Framework and we are continuing to advocate for opportunities for owners to access additional areas on raceday, whilst maintaining a COVID-safe environment for all.
We will continue to keep you informed on any developments regarding raceday entitlements for owners.
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. It should be noted that the need to comply with density and social distancing requirements means that owners will largely be unable to access areas such as viewing towers and participant canteens.
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 your horse provided that you only attend the stables of your licensed trainer and you notify them in advance.
Your trainer is required to keep a log of all attendance if needed at any point for contact tracing so please make sure you comply with this directive along with sanitising or washing your hands on entry and exit and as otherwise necessary. These are important measures implemented by your trainer and the industry and we thank you in advance for adhering to these requirements.
As we have seen over the past year, the situation regarding the pandemic is a dynamic one and as a result all protocols will need to be continually reviewed to ensure their suitability and the safe continuation of Victorian racing.
Where protocols that apply to owners are updated, we will seek to keep you informed, including via the RV website at racingvictoria.com.au/covid19
We also recommend that you regularly review the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website to remain aware of Government announcements that might apply to you. Click here to view
A reminder for all owners that if you are feeling unwell, in particular with any COVID-19 symptoms (click here to view symptoms
), that you do not attend any racecourse or licensed premises and that you seek to get yourself tested and isolate until you receive a negative result.
Finally, I would again like to thank you for your continued support and cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic and wish you the best of luck on the racetrack.