HRI publishes detailed return to racing protocols
Sport to recommence behind closed doors in Ireland from June 8th after getting go-ahead
North Dublin based trainer Aido McGuinness’ horses doing their morning work on Rush beach last week. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Horse Racing Ireland has published a 77-page document outlining the protocols for key personnel ahead of resuming racing behind closed doors on June 8.
HRI has detailed the procedures for each industry group and will announce a series of webinars to further explain the changes people will encounter when returning to work on the racecourse after the coronavirus shutdown.
Screening questionnaires prior to meetings, temperature checks, regular cleaning and rigorous social distancing measures are all outlined in the document.
HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “We have worked closely with the IHRB and the Senior Medical Officer Dr Jennifer Pugh in strengthening our protocols ahead of a return to racing.
“The new system of health screening will include the registration of every attendee at every race meeting, from jockeys, trainers, IHRB staff, to racecourse staff, cleaning staff and so on.
“Everybody will be required to complete a baseline health screening questionnaire followed by a set of further screening questions every 24-hours before attendance at a race meeting.
“We have further strengthened the screening process with the installation of a thermal camera system to check attendees’ temperatures. Nobody with an elevated reading will be allowed entry.
“The infection control policy is such that all surfaces will be regularly disinfected both before racing and throughout the race day, all indoor areas will be well ventilated, and only those essential to that area are present.”
Under the protocols, jockeys will be required to wear masks on the track, although these may be removed during a race, while foreign riders will have to complete a 14-day isolation period in Ireland before being allowed to compete.
Trainers have also been told that staff travelling from abroad to care for horses “need to be in Ireland under self-isolation for at least 14 days before they will be allowed onto racecourse premises”.
Horses travelling over two or three days before a race which are to be stabled at the racecourse can only be looked after by a trainer’s own staff if they have already completed the 14 days self-isolation in Ireland before the horse arrives.
Trainers themselves, or their representative, are also required to complete the two-week period in Ireland before being allowed on track.
People over 70 will not be permitted to attend in the initial stage of the return in line with advice from the Irish Government.
Kavanagh added: “It is incumbent on everybody in the industry to familiarise themselves with the new protocols, to partake in the upcoming webinars which will help bring these protocols to life and to ensure that the racecourse continues to be a safe place to work.”
The full HRI document on return to racing protocols can be read here.