NSW Covid-19 outbreak: Business as usual for racing in Sydney

Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel says the concerning developments relating to greater Sydney’s Covid-19 situation has not impacted Sydney racing’s current protocols.

As the latest outbreak continues to evolve, residents of Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains can only leave home for essential reasons including work, food, medical care or exercise.

On Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pre-empted stay-at-home orders could be extended for a second time beyond next Friday after announcing 44 new local cases of Covid-19, including 27 people who were infectious in the community.

Berejiklian announced a tightening of current restrictions, including further limiting outdoor exercise to two people within 10km of their homes.

Racing in New South Wales is currently operating under zones with jockeys – the Greater Sydney area and non-Greater Sydney area.

Jockeys riding in the Greater Sydney zone will be able to ride at all metropolitan tracks as well as Hawkesbury, Gosford, Wyong and Kembla Grange while all other racecourses are part of the second zone.

Chief steward Marc Van Gestel says there will be greater separation between jockeys and other essential workers. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“We’ve had protocols in place since the Covid situation started last year,” Van Gestel said. “We’ve got our jockey zones in place.

“In addition to that, we are ramping up our policy in terms of separation.

“We are putting in greater barriers between our jockeys and other essential workers at race meetings because of the Delta strain, which is proven to be airborne.

“We’ve also mandated the use of N95 or KN95 face masks which our pandemic expert has said are the most effective masks.

“No crowds in the Greater Sydney area, just essential personnel. That also includes no owners going into stables, trackwork, barrier trials or race meetings.

“We’re now at a point where our protocols are plug-in, plug-out depending on the Covid-19 situation. All our racecourses are equipped to work with these matters quickly and effectively.

“Also in place is temperature checks on entering the racecourse for any person that attends a meeting in the Greater Sydney area zone as well as disclosures they haven’t attended any of the exposure sites on the NSW Health website.”

Originally published asBusiness as usual for racing in Sydney

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