The NSW Government has announced that following the state reaching 70% fully vaccination rates, some freedoms will be provided to those who are fully vaccinated.
The implementation of these freedoms presents challenges for the thoroughbred racing industry as it is predicted to result in increased COVID-19 case numbers across the State.
This policy has been produced to ensure that all industry participants understand the risks associated with these increased freedoms and the requirement for Essential Personnel to continue to undertake and be vigilant about the COVID-19 safe protocols and measures that are currently in place. The importance of doing so cannot be overstated as industry and the State navigate their way through the relaxation of restrictions in the community and the increased resulting COVID-19 case numbers.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS (LGA) OF CONCERN
Effective 11 October 2021, the NSW Government has abolished LGA’s of concern.
This means that persons who currently reside in these LGA’s or have left these LGA’s to continue to work, are now subject to the same restrictions as all others who reside in the Greater Sydney Area.
Commencing 11 October 2021, the following applies to racing industry participants:
• Essential Personnel (Trainers, jockeys, stablehands, officials and service
providers) who currently live in LGA’s of Concern can commence to attend
race meetings and barrier trials and Randwick racecourse (which was subject
to additional restrictions).
• Persons who had relocated from LGA’s of Concern can return to their
previous residence and not be subject to any additional restrictions.
• Warwick Farm and Rosehill racecourses are not subject to travel restrictions
nor are participants required to register their travel to these racecourses.
PCR & RAPID COVID-19 TESTING
Racing NSW has been operating a rapid antigen testing program at Rosehill and Warwick Farm racecourses and Greater Sydney race meetings, to complement the requirement to also undertake PCR testing. Effective Monday 11 October Racing NSW will adjust this policy to provide greater coverage across the Greater Sydney
Commencing 11 October 2021
All Essential Personnel that attend Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm, Kembla Grange and Newcastle racecourses will be required to undertake a weekly PCR COVID-19 test and a rapid COVID-19 test 3 days thereafter. Rapid tests are to be conducted at the racecourse prior to commencing work at designated testing stations at each racecourse. Testing will commence early morning to ensure there is limited disruption to all Essential Personnel.
Racing NSW Stewards will provide a testing schedule to each trainer to ensure that there is compliance with this requirement.
In addition to the racecourse testing program detailed above, the following COVID19 testing requirements remain in place.
• Jockeys in the Greater Sydney Area must continue to obtain PCR COVID-19 tests on Monday and Friday of each week, in addition to undertaking rapid testing on raceday.
• Jockeys who reside in the Greater Sydney Area but ride outside the Greater Sydney Area must obtain PCR COVID-19 tests on Monday and Thursday of each week.
• Essential Personnel who reside in the Greater Sydney Are and are attending regional race meetings outside Greater Sydney must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within the last 7 days.
• Essential Personnel who reside in regional NSW (outside Greater Sydney) and attend a race meeting within the Greater Sydney Area must obtain a negative PCR test prior to attending a racecourse or licensed premises on their return.
RACE MEETINGS AND RACE CLUBS
As part of the new freedoms, racecourses will be permitted to welcome back owners and patrons that are fully vaccinated from 11 October 2021. Race clubs shall be responsible for ensuring that all patrons (other than Essential Personnel) are fully vaccinated prior to attending or entering the racecourse and crowds are restricted to 1 person per 4 square metres and a maximum to 5000 patrons, who must adhere to mandatory mask wearing for indoor spaces and all other NSW Government Public Heath Order requirements.
Essential Personnel have been permitted to attend race meetings during the lockdown periods. From 11 October 2021, other employees of race clubs that were not previously permitted to attend, such as hospitality staff, gate attendants, crowd control staff, etc, will be permitted to attend as part of the new freedoms. Such employees will need to be fully vaccinated (other than in NSW regional areas where employees who have received one vaccination dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from October 11 and will be given a grace period until November 1 to receive their second dose).
Race clubs are required by Racing NSW to put in place COVID-19 Safety Plans which includes clear separation between Essential Personnel Restricted Zone and owners and patrons, extending to bookmakers and Tote facilities.
The COVID Safety Plan will require consideration to servicing Essential Personnel in the Restricted Zone extending to entering the racecourse to providing catering services and amenities. Race clubs are to present their COVID-19 Safety and Operational plans detailing this separation to Racing NSW prior to a race meeting being conducted.
Owners are not permitted at this point in time to interact with trainers on raceday or enter horse stall areas and must remain within the patron zone.
In addition to these restrictions race clubs must continue to.
• Establish clear and precise conditions of entry to the racecourse.
• Monitor entrances to ensure mandatory QR code in on entry by all persons attending the racecourse.
• Sufficient signage to ensure patrons who are symptomatic or who are close or casual contacts do not enter the racecourse.
• Sufficient signage to ensure patrons are aware of the social distancing requirements.
• Installation of hand sanitising stations.
• Employment of cleaners wiping down high traffic areas and touch points.
• Provide staff to conduct temperature testing of Essential Personnel prior to
• Use of separate saddle cloths and strappers bibs for each race as per Racing NSW minimum standards.
• Provide multiple jockeys rooms to ensure proper separation amongst the jockeys riding at each meeting at the direction of Racing NSW Stewards.
• Ensure that all indoor spaces comply with the 1 person per 4 square metre orders and mandatory mask wearing.
• The COVID-19 Safety Plans will clearly establish strategies developed by the race club that ensure social distancing across the venue, in particular those areas of the racetrack where racegoers, owners and patrons congregate and comingle.
Race clubs require the approval of Racing NSW to conduct non-raceday functions and to allow contractors to attend the racecourse on non-racedays. Any application will be required to be supported by a COVID Safety Plan and risk mitigation strategy prepared by the Club.
N95 Face Masks
• N95 face masks are the most effective mask to prevent the spread of the Delta strain and accordingly, unless expressly approved by Racing NSW, Essential Personnel are required to use this type of mask when present on a racecourse or licensed premises. At a minimum surgical mask must be worn if an N95 mask is not available.
• Cloth masks are ineffective against the Delta strain and therefore their use is not permitted.
• Government orders mandate that face masks must be worn at all times when in an indoor area of a non-residential premises throughout NSW (except children under the age of 12). Premises include in the workplace, such as inside stable premises or offices.
• Patrons and owners on a racecourse are required to wear a face mask when indoors.
• The link below provides instructions as to how to fit the N95 mask to ensure it is providing the best protection from COVID-19.
On 20 and 21 September 2021, Racing NSW implemented a number of new restrictions for NSW Jockeys. These restrictions, subject to the amendments below, will remain in place after 11 October 2021 to protect the jockey groups. Until further notice, jockey zones will remain in place divided into two groups, namely Greater Sydney and Non-Greater Sydney.
All jockeys & apprentices are encouraged to have their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible in accordance with health advice.
Race clubs and Stewards will ensure jockeys rooms comply with the 1 person every 4 square metre orders and that jockeys are placed in separate rooms by region or contact with other jockeys.
Trainers or owners are required to provide separate colours for each individual jockey. If this cannot be accommodated a separate set of colours must be nominated to be used.
Upon entry to the jockey’s room all jockeys and apprentices are to undertake a temperature and symptoms check. Any jockey or apprentice who has displayed COVID-19 like symptoms must not attend a NSW racecourse or licensed premises, get tested and self-isolate until further notice. This occurrence must be reported to Racing NSW Stewards.
Greater Sydney Jockeys
• Jockeys & apprentices are not permitted to ride trackwork at any racecourse or training centre until further notice.
• Jockeys and apprentices may ride in barrier trials at all tracks inside the Greater Sydney Area.
• Jockeys & apprentices to undertake PCR testing on Monday and Friday of each week and send results to [email protected]. It is recommended that these tests are obtained with Histopath (www.histopath.com.au) which has to date provided the quickest test results.
• Jockeys & apprentices will be subjected to rapid antigen COVID-19 testing at every race meeting they ride at and at other times as determined by Racing NSW. This will require jockeys & apprentices to arrive at all race meetings 20 minutes earlier than previously to enable sufficient time for testing.
• Jockeys & apprentices are not permitted to:
o Use public transport, taxis or ride share vehicles.
o Attend crowded places such as shopping centres, cafes or restaurants (when opened) and other indoor public spaces.
o Meet, be in the company of or exercise with any person other than a person from their immediate family or persons they reside with. This includes not being permitted to visit or having visitors in their own residence.
• All appointments with medical professionals (including doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors etc) must be with the approval of Racing NSW.
• Personal training sessions only to be conducted in a one on one session and such session must be outdoors. The personal trainer must have PCR COVID19 tests taken twice a week and provide the results to Racing NSW if requested.
• When travelling to race meetings, jockeys must travel from home directly to each race meeting. This includes not being permitted to stop to purchase fuel or other goods. Arrangements should be made the day before to ensure sufficient fuel is in their vehicle before travelling to each meeting. Jockeys must travel alone when travelling to a race meeting.
• N95 face masks are to be worn at all times when away from their residence. Whilst mounted on a horse, jockeys & apprentices must keep their N95 face mask properly fitted over their nose and mouth and on race day are not to lower their face mask until they are entering the barriers.
Non-Greater Sydney Jockeys
• Jockeys and apprentices are permitted to ride trackwork at all NSW racecourses.
• Jockeys and apprentice jockeys who ride trackwork in the Greater Sydney Area must not enter stables or enclosed areas on the racecourse when riding trackwork and ensure they exercise social distancing at all times. Apprentices are not to undertake stable work if riding in races, unless expressly approved by Racing NSW.
• Jockey and apprentices that reside in the Greater Sydney Area must obtain a PCR COVID-19 test to be taken every Monday and Thursday and send the results to [email protected]
• N95 face masks are to be worn at all times when away from their residence. Whilst mounted on a horse, jockeys & apprentices must keep their N95 face mask properly fitted over their nose and mouth and
1) on race day are not to lower their face mask until they are entering the barriers.
2) when riding trackwork only lower their mask just prior to entering the track they intend to work on.
OWNERS AND PATRONS
Commencing 11 October 2021 Owners are permitted to attend racecourses as patrons. Owners and patrons are not permitted to interact with trainers in the Restricted Zone on raceday and must remain within the designated patron zones, to ensure separation from Essential Personnel. Owners and patrons are not permitted to attend licensed premises (stables) or trackwork.
Essential Personnel (jockeys, trainers, stablehands, Officials and Service Providers) who reside in or have been to Victoria must adhere to the following policies prior to attending a NSW racecourse or licensed premises (in addition to any requirements under the NSW Government Public Health Orders), unless exempted by Racing NSW.
• Victorian Places of High Concern or Casual Contact – Any person that has been in a place of high concern or casual contact at the link below, must not attend a NSW racecourse or licensed premises until they make contact with Racing NSW Stewards and provide details of such contact. Racing NSW Stewards will provide details of requirements before attending a NSW racecourse or licensed premises.
• State of Victoria (fully vaccinated) – Any fully vaccinated person that has been in the State of Victoria (other than the NSW/Victorian bubble) and has not been to a place of high concern or casual contact, must not attend a NSW racecourse or licensed premises until such time that they:
o Provide Racing NSW Stewards with evidence to their satisfaction of the day they arrived in NSW and evidence of travel permit.
o Provide Racing NSW Stewards with evidence to their satisfaction of vaccination status, showing they have been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.
o Self-isolate for 7 days and provide Racing NSW Stewards with the negative results of PCR COVID-19 tests taken on day 4 & 6 of the isolation period.
• State of Victoria (not fully vaccinated) – Any person that has been in the State of Victoria (other than the NSW/Victorian bubble) and has not been to a place of high concern or casual contact, must not attend a NSW racecourse or licensed premises until such time that they:
o Provide Racing NSW Stewards with evidence to their satisfaction of the day they arrived in NSW and evidence of travel permit.
o Self-isolate for 14 days and provide Racing NSW Stewards with the negative results of PCR COVID-19 tests taken on day 4, 10 & 14 of the isolation period.
There are currently no restrictions on attending a racecourse or licensed premises from states other than Victoria. However, all persons must abide by NSW Government Public Health Orders when travelling from interstate. RACECOURSE AND LICENSED PREMISES (STABLES) ACCESS Only Essential Personnel are permitted to attend Licensed Premises and racecourses (excepting owners and patrons may attend racecourses on raceday in
designated areas). Owners are not permitted to attend Licensed Premises until further notice.
Metropolitan barrier trial restrictions have now been relaxed and barrier trials are now open for horses trained at other tracks. Greater Sydney jockeys are permitted to ride in barrier trials at Rosehill and Warwick Farm. Licensed trackwork riders or Approved (Picnic) Riders are now not permitted to ride in barrier trials at these venues.
As part of the freedoms announced, persons attending race meetings as owners or patrons must be fully vaccinated. Race clubs are required to ensure all owners and patrons attending race meetings are fully vaccinated. For Essential Personnel that have been permitted to attend race meetings during the lockdown periods, there is no requirement to be fully vaccinated as their ongoing attendance is not as part of the new freedoms. However, Racing NSW strongly encourages all Essential Personnel to get vaccinated in accordance with their medical advice.
MONITOR FOR SYMPTOMS
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. Most common symptoms:
• loss of taste or smell
Less common symptoms:
• sore throat
• aches and pains
• a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
• red or irritated eyes
• difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• loss of speech or mobility, or confusion
• chest pain
Essential Personnel that experience any of these symptoms must not attend any racecourse or licensed premises, immediately get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. Any person that is tested after experiencing the symptoms above must report this to Racing NSW Stewards.
Trainers or race clubs must advise Racing NSW Stewards if any of their employees experience these symptoms and ensure any staff in close contact also isolate and get tested.
A list of exposure sites and public transport modes that are considered close and casual contacts throughout the Sydney area can be found at the link below. Participants are requested to be vigilant and continue to monitor exposure sites.
Racing NSW requires any person that has been to the venues listed in the link above, to follow NSW Health Orders, get tested and self-isolate as directed. Further those persons must not attend a NSW racecourse or licensed premises until such time that they provide Racing NSW with a negative COVID-19 test result and approval is given from Racing NSW to resume attendance. All licensed Essential Personnel must report to Racing NSW Stewards if they have been to such locations.
Essential Personnel are defined as
• Racing NSW Stewards and Veterinarians
• Trainers, Jockeys and Stablehands with a runner at the race meeting
• Barrier Attendants, Starters and essential Track Staff
• Clerks of the Course
• Judges and Sectional Timing Teams
• Weighing Room Staff and jockeys’ attendants
• Race day Event Staff and security including horse stalls, mounting yard and float carpark
• Club Doctor and Ambulance Services
• Farriers and other essential service providers
• Broadcast services including Race Caller
• Restricted Core Racing Media as approved by Racing NSW and the Race Club
• Restricted operational Race Club staff and management
Essential Personnel will be required to leave the racecourse after their horses have
run or duties completed.