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23 Sep 2020 - News

Covid-19 update for racing staff

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Yesterday the government announced that pilot events with limited crowds are to be halted. This obviously impacts racecourses and the progress towards the return of spectators. It had been hoped that the sport’s revenue would soon be on an upward path with the admission of spectators. This now looks out of reach until Covid-19 cases return to lower levels.

Racing staff should be applauded for their professional approach in the face of these unprecedented challenges and by and large we have led by example. We must now ensure more so than ever, that we continue to be vigilant, maintain social distancing where possible, not always easy on a racehorse, and follow the guidelines such as sanitizing your hands and wearing a face covering when required to do so.

The new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister yesterday do not prevent you from continuing to work as you have done since lockdown and the resumption of racing on the 1st of June.

However, it is also clear that the precautions you and other staff have taken to prevent the incursion of Covid-19 into the workplace must be taken even more seriously. We are aware of a small number of recent positive cases. Dr Jerry Hill has encouraged trainers to consider extra measures for their yards to stay ahead of the spread of the virus. These have been communicated already to trainers in local authority areas where case rates have been rising and are above average. It is vital that staff follow these measures to protect themselves, their work colleagues, and their loved ones. Additional precautions could include:

  • Staff briefings, particularly emphasizing the avoidance of potential contacts outside work, e.g. pubs
  • Office staff working from home where possible.
  • Increased signage
  • More sanitizer points
  • Face coverings used more widely
  • Splitting staff into shifts to reduce risk of contacts (shared accommodation might be relevant)
  • Reduce/stop shared vehicle use
  • Suspending visitors accessing yards
  • Taking a cautious approach to socializing between households within yards where there are multiple units of accommodation

Racing staff are generally the younger generation, fit due to the very nature of our jobs, and as such quite resilient. Our profile means we are less likely to suffer serious consequences should we contract Covid-19. However, we all have parents, grandparents, and we all know somebody with health issues, be they family or friends. It for the safety of our family, friends and loved ones that we must take every precaution possible. Please continue to represent the industry we work in with the same determination, dedication, and professionalism that you have shown so far, you are a credit to yourselves.

If you are aware of some colleagues that will not adhere to the measures, we need to protect others, please do not hesitate to inform your employer, NARS, the NTF or the BHA.

To date there is no evidence of any transmission of the virus on the racecourse so you can be confident that the way racing has been conducted behind closed doors is safe.

If you are unfortunate to get confirmed positive cases in your yard, immediately contact Dr Jerry Hill at jhill@britishhorseracing.com or on 07790 640029.

You can contact NARS by calling 01638 663411 or by emailing us at admin@naors.co.uk.

We can also be contacted by Facebook.

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