The National Horseracing Authority confirms that it has given careful and urgent consideration to the contents of the President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address last night, which effectively placed South Africa under NEW adjusted Level 3 Lockdown effective today, 29 December 2020.
In keeping with its mandate to safeguard the well-being of its stake holders and interested parties, the NHA shall continue to align its racing behind closed doors protocols in a responsible and robust manner so as to ensure consistency and that Horseracing can continue at minimal risk to all of its participants. Consequently, the regulations and protocols that were instituted before the re-commencement of Racing on 1 June 2020 will be adopted with immediate effect. These include, but are not limited to:-
1. Only persons in possession of an Essential Service Permit will be allowed entrance onto Racecourse property. This return to “Racing Behind Closed Doors” is necessary to limit the gathering of people and to minimise risk to the Essential Service Providers that will sustain the Industry during this period. The Permits that were previously issued by the NHA are timeless and thus are still active.
2. Riders are to be domiciled in one region of their choice for the month of January 2021 and are to relocate to this Province if so required, prior to 4 January 2021. Once a Rider has ridden in a Centre from 4 January 2021, he will be limited to ride in the Centre for the remainder of the month.
3. Field sizes will be restricted to 14 runners, with 16 runners being permitted for Listed and Graded Races.
4. Sweat Box facilities remain strictly off limits.
5. The minimum riding weight remains at 52 kg in Handicap races.
6. The final event on any day will be scheduled to start by 19:00.
7. Any persons with comorbidities shall not be able to attend.
8. The proven non-pharmaceutical measures of wearing of masks, hand sanitizing/washing for at least 20 seconds and social distancing of at least 1,5m apart, is critical and the Chief Compliance Officer, Mr Arnold Hyde, together with his team shall ensure same is done throughout a race meeting. Under the new regulations, the wearing of masks in public is now mandatory. If a person is caught not wearing a mask, on conviction they are liable for a fine and/or be imprisoned for up to six months.
With this second wave, the new variant of this virus is more potent and spreads faster with infections climbing at alarming an rate and people becoming more sick than previously.
Quote from the President last night:
“Unless we act now and unless we act decisively, the number of new infections will far exceed what we experienced during the first wave and thousands more people will lose their lives.”
The two month period that our Industry was shut down between 27 March until 31 May 2020 is still fresh in our memories and this should remind us of the NEED of individual responsibility which shall go a long way in ensuring the growth and sustainability of the horseracing Industry.
The NHA will provide an update around 18 January 2021, based on the President’s address to the nation prior to 15 January 2021.
-Photo: Candiese Lenferna.