Following today’s announcement from the State Government of a seven-day state-wide circuit breaker lockdown to keep Victorians safe, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) issues the following update.

Attendance at harness racing meetings

From 3pm on 27 May until further notice, Victorian harness racing meetings can only be attended by essential personnel. Essential personnel include licensed industry participants with an engagement at that meeting and required staff for that meeting to proceed.

Any person who has attended a COVID-19 exposure site (click here for an updated list at the Department of Health website) or suspects that a close contact has done so is not permitted to attend a Victorian harness racing venue or licensed premises until they have fulfilled the government requirements for testing and isolation and submitted a HRV COVID-19 reporting form.

Any licensed participant who falls into this category should report the matter via this form or contact HRV on (03) 8378 0200. This form is vital and failure to report instances of contact may put participants in breach of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR 238).

Face Masks

From 3pm on 27 May until further notice, all persons attending a Victorian race meeting, racetrack or licensed premises must wear a properly fitted face mask at all times. Only those with a government permitted exemption (i.e., a medical condition) will be permitted to not wear a mask.

Masks are not required to be worn by drivers competing during a race.

QR Code

QR Code has been implemented for use at all Victorian harness racetracks and trial venues, and all licensed participants and essential staff must use this code. This gives HRV immediate data should it be required for any contract tracing requirements.

At the races

Drivers are asked to limit the time spent in drivers’ room and all enclosed and indoor areas of the racetrack.

All harness racing attendees are required to exercise appropriate physical distancing – that means a 1.5-metre distance should be maintained between persons wherever possible.

All participants are asked to leave the race meeting as soon as they have fulfilled their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (i.e., after completion of swabbing procedures, attendance before stewards etc.)

Participants are encouraged to pre-pack enough food and supplies for the duration of their engagement at race meetings as there is no guarantee food will be available at venues.

For a full list of COVID-19 protocols, click here. Industry is reminded that non-compliance may be subject to action by HRV stewards. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in significant penalties being imposed, including periods of disqualification, under AHRR 238 which states: A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the Stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry.

Quotes from HRV CEO Dayle Brown

“Following today’s announcement from the State Government, I can confirm that harness racing in Victoria will continue under strict biosecurity protocols and with no crowds in attendance.

“As an industry we have successfully navigated previous lockdown periods by looking out for each other and the community through increased vigilance and by following the rules. I’m proud of the resilience our industry has shown and I’m sure that will be on display in coming days.

“HRV will ensure communications are issued in a timely manner to provide the industry clarity throughout this circuit breaker lockdown period.

“Our HRV business continuity team is meeting daily, following the directives from the State Government and Chief Health Officer and will be providing more information as soon as it is available. 

“If you are feeling unwell, please do not attend the races. Go and get tested. That is the right thing to do, and you will be playing your part in ensuring Victorians can stay safe and we can continue racing.”