Racing Queensland has announced further measures to ensure business continuity of harness racing operations in response to COVID-19.
As part of these measures, some RQ staff will be performing their work functions from home as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Restricted on-course access
At the start of last week, RQ advised that all race meetings and trial sessions across Queensland would be conducted without patrons until further notice.
To assist with this process, RQ advised that attendance should be limited to essential licensed personnel – click here to see those who were permitted – with further limitations now being advised. They are:
- Maximum of one stable hand per three horses – staff to be notified to the club;
- Raceday attendees to be recorded; and
- No food or beverages to be supplied on-course.
Reduced field sizes
Until further notice, RQ has advised of the following amendments to Queensland field sizes (effective from Friday). They are:
- Maximum of eight races per meeting on weekdays unless no trials are held, in which case the maximum 80 horse rule will apply (refer next point);
- Redcliffe and Marburg field sizes reduced to eight with a maximum of 80 horses per meeting including trials (excluding Clerks Of Course); and
- Albion Park field sizes to be reduced to 10 with a maximum of 100 horses per meeting including trials (excluding Clerks of Course).
Changes to race meeting sign-in procedures
RQ has now implemented sign-in practices at all harness racing meetings in Queensland.
Trainers will need to present themselves to the Acceptance Office at the host race club and advise the club staff member of which horses have arrived on course and the names of their stable hands in attendance.
The club staff member will initial the sign-in sheet and enter a check-in time and check-out time.
This will avoid multiple people using the same pen and touching the same sign-in sheets.
A similar practice will be adopted when purchasing molasses, with the club staff member signing the molasses sheet.
Race colour restrictions.
Commencing on Wednesday, March 25, RQ has implemented new restrictions on race colours.
The same set of racing colours are not permitted to be shared amongst drivers to avoid cross contamination.
As such, a decision has been made that drivers shall compete in their own racing colours for each drive at any specific race meeting unless otherwise approved by RQ.
Drivers who do not have a registered set of race colours - or do not have their registered set of race colours available - are asked to contact the Racing Queensland Harness Racing Office to discuss alternative arrangements.
Club colours will not be available for use whilst the restrictions are in place.
Alternative arrangements for use of race colours may be made during this restriction period, however, driver colours are the preferred method rather than drivers using multiple sets of colours at a race meeting.
Drivers are encouraged to wash their colours between each race meeting to ensure adequate hygiene standards during the restriction period.
For queries please contact the RQ Harness Racing Office on (07) 3869 9768.
Hygiene and social distancing
The intent of the patron-free racing is to assist the community obligation to uphold social distancing principles where at all possible.
Personal actions to assist include:
- Participants to leave immediately after their racing commitments once cleared by stewards;
- Drivers colors to be introduced to avoid cross contamination;
- Face-to-face media interviews cancelled;
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue;
- Disposing of tissues properly;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or alcohol based sanitisers, including before and after eating, after going to the toilet, and after using shared equipment;
- Cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets;
- Avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential;
- Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible;
- Minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions; and
- Supporting social distancing enhancements introduced by QRIC, RQ, and Club officials at race meetings.