Patrons will soon be welcomed back to thoroughbred racetracks across South Australia in a staged approach.
Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) today announced it would adopt a measured approach to re-admitting on-course patrons, with limits varying for each club given their specific room sizes, taking into account the distancing directions put in place by State Co-ordinator Grant Stevens that deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep racegoers, industry figures and the wider community informed, TRSA will provide weekly updates detailing the conditions, including capacities for each respective meeting programmed in the seven days ahead.
“We thought that would be the most sensible and responsible plan, given the regularly changing environment with regards to the directions in this space,” said TRSA Chief Executive Officer, Nick Redin.
“This gradual approach will strike a balance between getting more people ‘back to the track’ and ensuring the safety of industry participants and spectators remains the number one priority.”
However, Mr Redin urged racegoers to “exercise patience”, as clubs are working through all measures required to reopen.
“Racecourse hospitality areas have been effectively put into hibernation during the pandemic and will take some time to get back up and running,” he said.
“Clubs have sold off the majority of their bar stock and shut all fridges and air conditioning down. It will take a bit of time to restock the bars and kitchens and bring the venues back on line.
“There are some clubs that have small rooms and will have limited availability, as they are required to remain compliant with the mandatory social-distancing measures. As we are seeing in the smaller pubs and bars, many have opted to remain closed, as to open would make their losses worse. This may be the case with a few clubs.
“Every club is different. What we do not want to do is to put the clubs in a position where they will incur losses for opening the doors due to the restrictions in place on social distancing given their room sizes.”
TRSA has recommended to all clubs that owners be the first allowed back on track.
“But this will be at the discretion of each club,” Mr Redin said. “Clubs are member-based organisations and this needs to be balanced against the needs of owners who want to see their horses run live – something they have been unable to do during this pandemic. There are many club members who are also owners which may help alleviate this situation while there are restrictions that limit the number of patrons on course”.
Under the current directions, bookmakers and the on-course TAB are not permitted back on track until June 29.
Essential staff required to conduct race days will continue to be temperature checked – at the cost of TRSA – but spectators will not require temperature testing.
Mr Redin said spectators would need to pre-book and prepay for their tickets with the club concerned and will need to provide their details – including full name and a phone number – to the club on entry so TRSA can act quickly with any tracing requirements if required.
“Spectators will only be allowed in the room they are booked into for their packages and will not be allowed into any official racing areas – and this includes mounting yards and the race-day horse stalls areas,” Mr Redin said. “We have to keep segregated the people essential to put on the racing from those attending from a hospitality perspective, and are asking patrons to respect this if they are on course.”
In accordance with the current direction in place, all food and drink must be consumed while seated. The trainers’ bars will remain closed and will not re-open until the official directions allow drinks to be consumed while standing.
Clubs will be in charge of ensuring patrons remain in their designated areas and stay within these areas, away from any official racing area. Clubs will also be responsible for ensuring patrons remain seated while drinking and provide their details for tracing protocols.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW MANY (subject to official directions from the State Co-ordinator)
Port Augusta, Sunday, June 21:
Port Augusta Race Club will advise in coming weeks when it will be welcoming patrons back on course. For the short term, access is for essential race-day participants only – this does not include owners or members All inquiries should be directed to 0447 105 545.
Murray Bridge, Wednesday, June 24:
The Murray Bridge Racing Club has advised that members will be given priority for this meeting, followed by owners with horses engaged on the day. The maximum amount of spectators allowed on course at this track is 174. Pre-bookings are essential and patrons will be charged $20 to reserve a space. This will be redeemable for food and beverage on the day. To inquire phone 8532 2310.
Morphettville (South Australian Jockey Club) will be welcoming members and other patrons back on course from August 1. Two limited-capacity private industry events will take place on 18 July and 25 July. Any inquiries to be directed to 8295 0111.
For further information please contact Paul Mitchell, TRSA Content, Media and Communications Manager, on email@example.com or 0439 478 705.