Following the Government announcement of a five-day lockdown from 11.59pm Thursday, July 15 to 11.59pm Tuesday, July 20, based on advice from the Chief Health Officer, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) issues this update.
Attendance at race and trial meetings
From 11.59pm on Thursday, July 15, Victorian harness racing meetings and trial 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 is feeling unwell or 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).
From July 15 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 Codes have 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 contact tracers immediate data should it be required.
From Friday, July 16, temperature testing has resumed at all Victorian harness racing meetings.
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 attributable to HRV CEO Dayle Brown
“Only essential personnel will be able to attend Victorian harness racing or trial meetings during the five-day lockdown announced yesterday by Government. This means only participants with a horse engaged or staff required to run the meeting will be permitted entry into the racecourse.
“We have been in this position before and each time I have been immensely proud of the resilience shown by all facets of our industry. It has only been through the efforts of our people adhering to all protocols that we have been able to continue racing.
“We have reintroduced temperature testing upon entry to racetracks and masks will be required to be worn at all times while on course – both inside and outside.
“Please remember if you feel unwell in any way do not come to the races. Go and get tested and isolate immediately. If a member of your family or a person in your household has symptoms, do not come to the races. Go and get tested. Staying home when you are unwell is the best thing you can do to look after your fellow participants and our industry.”