Still hope that small crowds will be allowed on course for this year’s Spring Carnival

Still hope that small crowds will be allowed on course for this year’s Spring Carnival

The racing industry is still holding out hope that small crowds will be allowed on course for this year’s Spring Carnival following the State Government’s latest COVID-19 announcements on Sunday.

Premier Daniel Andrews released a four-part roadmap regarding the easing of restrictions across the state, leaving open the possibility of crowds on racetracks for the spring.

Racing Victoria Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, has responded to the latest announcements confirming there was still further decisions to be made regarding the possibility of racing crowds.

“We note today’s announcement by the Victorian Government regarding the introduction of a safe and steady pathway towards the re-opening of our state and more specifically for racing, its comments that major events will be the subject of additional work and further consideration.

 

“Since mid-March, Victorian racing has conducted close to 2,000 races under strict biosecurity protocols that have been implemented in addition to all Government directives and advice. These protocols have allowed us to maintain the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs and ensure that essential daily care and exercise can be afforded to our horses.

“Over the coming days we will be reviewing the Victorian Government’s road maps in consultation with our key stakeholders to understand what impact they will have on Victorian racing and the protocols necessary to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training.

“We will also be continuing to liaise closely with the Victorian Government around our major events during the Spring Racing Carnival in the knowledge that the possibility of  limited owners and spectators returning to the track remains the subject of further discussions.”

Racing Victoria confirmed as per the industry’s current biosecurity protocols, only essential staff and participants are permitted to attend racetracks, with all owners are currently prohibited from attending race meetings in Victoria until otherwise advised.

The roadmap released today made it clear that there are a number of steps the government has outlined for Victorians in an attempt to reopen the state – which include strict rules on how the state can socialise, work, travel and interact – and includes tough restrictions on retail and hospitality.

But Racing.com has been told this afternoon that work is still being done on what major events, including the Spring Carnival, could look like and an alteration to the roadmap for such events is possible.

Under the roadmap, it clearly states that ‘’Major events will be the subject of additional work and further consideration’’ and that includes racing.

The document states that crowds at sport would not be allowed until the last step of the roadmap and that gatherings of 50 people would not be allowed until November 23 at the earliest.

But Racing.com believes crowds on course have not been ruled out under this special provision.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula also confirmed further announcements are expected in following

weeks.

“The timing of the spring carnival means that any kind of significant crowds are unlikely in 2020.

“We will consider bespoke arrangements for major events – including the carnival – and to that end, government will work with the racing industry and the Chief Health Officer about what options might be feasible and safe over the next three months.”

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