An update for Owners on COVID-19
The past three weeks have been another challenging period for Victoria and we are incredibly appreciative and delighted that we have been able to safely continue racing and training throughout the state’s latest COVID outbreak.
In doing so, we note that owners have once again been prohibited from attending race meetings and stables. I firstly wanted to thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this period.
Throughout the pandemic our objective has been to protect the health and wellbeing of industry staff, participants and the wider community; to support the 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs that our industry underpins; and to ensure that all horses receive ongoing care and attention.
The Government has announced changes to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and country Victoria from midnight this evening. This is welcome news for all Victorians, but still finds us some way off a return to a normal raceday.
In light of those imminent changes, I write to provide you with an update on the plans for Victorian racing over the next week ahead of further possible easing of Government restrictions.
Industry Protocols - Greater Melbourne
The State Government has announced an easing of restrictions in Greater Melbourne from Friday, 11 June 2021. Racing Victoria (RV) understands the entertainment and leisure provisions within the Government’s directions will allow a maximum of 100 people (with no more than 50 indoors) to attend metropolitan race meetings.
Due to the limited number permitted to attend and the logistics required to facilitate this, RV has determined that racing will be spectator free at racetracks within Greater Melbourne until at least next Thursday night, 17 June 2021.
This will affect upcoming metropolitan race meetings at Ladbrokes Park Sandown (12 and 16 June) and Mornington (14 June) with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) in agreeance that racing spectator-free until greater crowd limits are approved is the most practical decision at this point in time.
As such, the three metropolitan race meetings over the next week will proceed with only competing participants, essential staff and officials in attendance.
Unfortunately, that means that all spectators, including owners, will be unable to attend these three race meetings.
In an abundance of caution, we’ve also determined that only participants, staff and essential providers are permitted to attend public or private training facilities or licensed racing premises within Greater Melbourne until at least next Thursday, 17 June 2021. This means that owners cannot attend stables or trackwork in Greater Melbourne until otherwise advised.
We will continue to liaise with Government and health advisors over the coming days and will provide a further update as soon as practicable on attendance at metropolitan meetings, with the return of owners being our initial priority.
Industry Protocols - Regional Victoria
The State Government has announced a further easing of restrictions in regional Victoria from Friday, 11 June 2021. RV understands the entertainment and leisure provisions within the Government’s directions will allow a maximum of 150 people (with no more than 75 indoors) to attend country race meetings.
Attendance at country meetings will be determined on a case-by-case basis with each individual Club to determine, in consultation with Country Racing Victoria (CRV) and RV, whether it is equipped to welcome spectators back on course.
Spectators must reside within regional Victoria to be permitted entry at a country race meeting in line with the Government directives which currently prohibit people from Greater Melbourne travelling to regional Victoria.
If you are based in regional Victoria and have a horse racing in regional Victoria over the next week, I would encourage you to visit the host Club’s website to determine whether there is an opportunity to attend.
The Swan Hill Jockey Club (SHJC) have advised RV that they are proceeding with welcoming 75 people on course in an indoor area each day of their three-day Cup Carnival which commences tomorrow - Friday, 11 June.
The SHJC are only accepting registrations from country owners with a runner engaged on the day, with those interested asked to contact the SHJC via phone (03) 5032 2110 or email email@example.com.
With the differing circumstances and restrictions in regional Victoria, I am pleased to advise that owners who reside in regional Victoria will be permitted to attend public and private training facilities and licensed racing premises within regional Victoria from Friday 11 June 2021.
If you do attend a regional race meeting or training facility, please ensure you follow the updated Government guidelines for face masks within regional Victoria which, from Friday, 11 June 2021, state:
• masks must be carried at all times;
• masks must be worn indoors except if at home, or if an exception applies; and
• masks must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.
As we have seen over the past year, the situation regarding the pandemic is a dynamic one and I trust that all owners understand the need for us to do everything in our power to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training.
As flagged, we will continue to liaise with the State Government over the next week regarding the possibilities for increased attendance beyond next Thursday and will provide a further update to owners when there are applicable changes.
Finally, I want to again thank all owners for their support and cooperation and wish you the best of luck on the racetrack.