ON TRACK: Runners at Corbould Park.
ON TRACK: Runners at Corbould Park.

Step by step process for racegoers

RACING: Following the approval of the Racing Queensland COVID-19 Safe Plan by Queensland Health, the queue of racegoers waiting to get back to the track has at last started to move.

But it will remain a slow, measured, step-by-step process with the strict social distancing and biosecurity measures that have served racing so well still remaining paramount in the overall return strategy.

Earlier this week, the Sunshine Coast Turf Club announced that turf club members wishing to attend this Sunday’s race meeting at Corbould Park could either buy hospitality tickets or pre-register for attendance which would be allocated within limited designated areas at a maximum of 20 people per location. The specified location would remain a person’s particular location for the day with no movement between areas allowed.

Following final acceptances for the Sunday meeting, owners with confirmed runners were also given an opportunity to pre-register for attendance.

Under the current Stage 2 restrictions, though, their movement at the track itself would be similarly restricted to that of the members. Owners will have to stay in an allocated area and forego their usual access to the parade ring and the horse stall areas — a privilege they enjoyed before COVID-19 struck.

Essential racing personnel, who have been in place throughout, will remain in a completely separate area to the facilities allocated to the members and owners.

With the limited spaces available, bookings were to be handled on a first-in, first-served basis, so many people will be kicking their heels in that queue for some time to come.

All things being equal, further lifting of restrictions are anticipated to take place in July and hopefully the welcome news can continue to roll from there until the queue waiting to get in moves faster and gets shorter until everybody’s “racing live” needs are satisfied.

But, as the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Victoria has shown, nothing is guaranteed with how this virus might be fully contained or how it might regroup and surge again with its second wave.

All we can do is do our best in taking virus-preventive measures.

So far racing’s best has been very good indeed and we all should be encouraged by that.

For those who get allocated places on Sunday, enjoy your return to the track but remember to always abide by strict COVID-19 social-distancing policies in line with the COVID-19 plan.

In the moment, sometimes it is so easy to forget where you are, perhaps particularly when your horse has hit the front at the 100m mark.

But any patron who does not adhere to these strict guidelines imposed will be asked to leave the racetrack.

For those who have to wait for another day, well, we all hope that day is not far away.

Graham Potter is the managing editor of horseracingonly.com.au

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