Following today’s announcement from the State Government that restrictions in place to keep Victorians safe from COVID-19 will be eased in regional Victoria tonight on health advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) issues the following update.

Despite some of the easing of restrictions in regional areas, HRV will maintain current protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of the industry and the communities in which harness racing is contested.

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.