The state’s latest Covid-19 outbreak has forced Racing NSW to reintroduce several health and safety protocols with the return of jockey zones among the key changes invoked from this week.
Racing NSW released a detailed Covid-19 update on Sunday afternoon in response to new stay-at-home orders announced by the NSW Government.
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.
Racing falls under essential work however the industry has been forced to tighten restrictions to remain in line with government protocols.
It will see jockeys placed in two zones from Monday – the Greater Sydney Area and Non Greater Sydney Area while social distancing protocols will return at meetings.
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.
“The zones have changed a little bit where we previously had the three zones we now have the two to keep the rider groups separated in line with those stay-at-home orders,” chief steward Marc Van Gestel said.
“That way if there is an issue within one of those zones we aren’t spreading the virus to areas that aren’t currently impacted.
Chief steward Marc Van Gestel (left) chats to James McDonald. Photo: AAP Image/Mark EvansSource:AAP
“The same social distancing protocols are in place but essentially they have been scaled up a bit more.
“Patrons and owners won’t be allowed on course and that’s something we will need to assess again when it comes to the end of the stay-at-home order.”
If the stay-at-home order period is increased beyond the July 9 then it will have an impact on several meetings.
The Wyong meeting schedule for Saturday, July 10 will move to Newcastle while the Kembla Grange meeting the following Saturday will be transferred to Goulburn.
Goulburn’s meeting two days later would shift to Nowra.
Van Gestel said the moves would take place to ensure there are enough jockeys available to ride at each meeting.
Essential personnel will again be required to wear masks with N95 masks or surgical masks at all times.
NSW recorded a further 18 new local acquired Covid-19 cases – most of which are linked to a Bondi cluster – on Monday with a total of 130 cases now being treated around the state.
Further cases have also been confirmed in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland in recent days.
Originally published asNSW Jockey zones return as restrictions tighten
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