Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov has thanked participants for their actions under restricted racing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the first week of operations under the regional zoning plan, which Mr Mestrov said was an emergency measure taken to make possible a continuation of racing under strictest biosecurity measures, a review by GRNSW and the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) has resulted in the following next steps and updates:
Regional Zones reduced from seven to six
The regional zones have been reduced from seven to six, with Richmond being added to the South Coast region of Bulli, Dapto and Goulburn. The decision has been made to meet the critical need to ensure our racing is conducted in line with best practice biosecurity protocols that are designed protect our staff and participants. Trainers in the South Coast region will from today be able to nominate and race at any or all of the four tracks to allow best health, safety, welfare and integrity practices to continue.
Extra race meetings will be scheduled at venues
GRNSW and GWIC are in discussions about the provision of extra race meetings within the six regions, and an announcement on this will be made in the next few days . There are currently 10 tracks fully equipped to facilitate greyhound racing in NSW under the interim plan as 70% of venues remain closed.
Wagga and Gunnedah racing
Participants are advised that racing in the Wagga and Gunnedah regions will continue under the previously set-out criteria at this time, with nominations for these meetings only being accepted from participants in those regions. This will be further reviewed as the racing schedule is developed.
Mr Mestrov said:
“Firstly, let me assure all participants that GRNSW and GWIC are working together to ensure there is every chance for racing to continue.
“I have previously stated that this is a survival plan during an incredibly difficult time, and the regional zoning program was quickly established to meet the strictest biosecurity standards and create the safest possible environment to race.
“I understand there are personal challenges for participants but let me say again that the alternatives to this plan are far worse.
“I congratulate everyone for adhering to the new measures including social distancing and for showing the resilience the industry is renowned for.
“Behind the scenes we are doing all we can to ensure the safest possible way to continue racing.
“If we need to make more changes in order to keep racing, we will do so.
“Participants who have any questions or concerns regarding the impact of the rezoning on them are asked contact us at Grading_D@grnsw.com.au.
“Today’s further steps allow us to schedule extra race meetings and do everything within our power to balance the interests of as many participants as possible to keep their incomes and livelihoods while at the same time meet biosecurity and health necessities and all welfare and integrity requirements that allow our industry to keep going.
“We continue to follow all Government directions and understand that the State’s next stages regarding managing this pandemic may have an impact on what we can and can’t do.”