Bernard's Briefing - COVID-19

Bernard Saundry
22 March 2020
This is the first of what will be regular briefings to ensure information is passed on to our stakeholders and participants in a timely fashion over the coming weeks.
We are currently navigating largely uncharted waters as the country works to contain the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, as of last Wednesday we introduced emergency regulations around the manner in which race meetings, trials and jump-outs would be conducted.
Throughout this event we have been working closely with the Harness and Greyhound codes, along with TAB, and all were united in their decision to run closed door meetings. 
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has done their part to allow our race meetings to continue under what have been unusual circumstances.  The fact that so many of our people have immediately recognised the seriousness of the situation and adapted to help protect the future of our industry is greatly appreciated.
Following yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister regarding the introduction of a four-tier alert level NZTR has been working with the other codes to see just how this might look for our industry.
There will be an NZTR Board conference call this afternoon and a further meeting with the clubs advisory group tomorrow morning.  In addition to liaising with our fellow codes and the TAB we are also monitoring advice from government and factoring this into our decisions.
At this stage the regulations which are in place are allowing us to keep our industry working, however please be aware that we may have to introduce further changes over the coming days.  We ask for your patience, cooperation and understanding that any new regulations introduced will be brought in to ensure the continuation of racing.
The country is presently at Level Two and this includes the following advice:
  • Further restrictions on mass gatherings
  • Limit non-essential travel around New Zealand
  • Employers start alternative ways of working (shifts; working from home; physical distancing etc)
  • High risk people to remain at home (those over 70 or with other existing medical conditions)
  • From NZTR’s perspective we have already implemented a travel ban on staff and, as of Monday, will have around 40% of our office working from home.  According we would ask stakeholders to, as much as possible, communicate via email during this time.
There are aspects of this alert level which may impact further on the way we continue to conduct our race meetings and these, along with the possible ramifications should we move to Level 3 or higher, will be advised to stakeholders as soon as they are determined.
For now we thank owners for recognising the need to limit race day attendance to necessary personnel only; trainers and their staff for monitoring their own health and isolating themselves where and when needed; jockeys for being aware of their health and practising social distancing on and off course; and all industry participants for their on-going patience in trying times. We would like to acknowledge our clubs who have gone to incredible lengths to implement the changes required in a very short timeframe; and all of those essential personnel who have adapted to our new normal.
We realise that these are very anxious and uncertain times for everyone and encourage you to continue to take time to look after yourselves and your fellow industry participants.  A little kindness at the moment will go a long way.

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