Horse racing in SA to continue, but will be closed to the public

Picture: iStock

The industry announced several measures to comply with the state of disaster in place against Covid-19.

Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, Kenilworth Racing, Gold Circle, the Racing Association, the National Horseracing Authority and The Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust unanimously agreed on Monday to implement measures to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

From Tuesday, all race meetings would be closed to the public until further notice. Consequently, the Joburg Prawn Festival at Turffontein scheduled for 4 April and the Klawervlei raceday scheduled for Durbanville on Saturday 28 March were cancelled, although the race meetings at which they were scheduled would take place.

Only essential racing participants would be allowed access to racecourses on race days. These included owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, officials and staff deemed necessary to host a race meeting safely and successfully.

Access points to racecourses would be limited, as would hospitality venues for participants allowed at racecourses on raceday in order to strictly comply with the guidelines and restrictions imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who banned gatherings of more than 100 people while declaring a state of disaster.

Hand sanitiser, accompanied with the necessary signage and instructions, would be made available to all racing participants allowed on course.

“The same sanitisation measures will be applied at training centres, which will include all grooms. In addition, various restrictive measures to be implemented as a cautionary, as well as potential lockdown procedures, are being put into place in the eventuality of an outbreak at any of the grooms’ accommodation.

“All non-racing events, such as conferences, hosted at the various racecourses across the country, will be cancelled with immediate effect.

“In line with the published restrictions, attendance at all Off-Course Betting Shops will be limited to under 100 persons as required. In addition, sanitisation measures will be put in place at all outlets.”

Racing fans were encouraged to open online betting accounts instead of placing bets at Off-Course Betting Shops.

Racing operators reserved the right to deny access to any of their venues to any person displaying Covid-19 symptoms.

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