Get jabbed or don’t ride: Racing NSW participants told to get vaccinated

Racing NSW participants will need to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 if they want to attend a race meeting from November 1.

From Monday November 1, only fully Covid-19 vaccinated participants will be allowed to attend race meetings in NSW.

The news, which caught some participants by surprise, only surfaced last week, resulting in two jockeys being stood down from riding as they were not vaccinated.

Additionally, there have been reports of unvaccinated trainers and stablehands not being admitted entry on certain courses. 

According to Racing NSW Chief Steward, Marc Van Gestel, the decision to stop unvaccinated participants from attending NSW race tracks was out of the administrative body’s hands, with club’s required to abide by NSW Government health orders, which prevents unvaccinated patrons and staff from entering licenced premises.

“The NSW Health Orders require that any person that attends a racecourse to attend a race meeting must be fully vaccinated. The exception is those who live in regional NSW having until 1 November 2021 to be fully vaccinated,” Mr Van Gestel said.

“Therefore, from Monday 1 November 2021 any person (including jockeys, trainers, stablehands, patrons, members and officials) who attends a race meeting must be fully vaccinated.”

Racing participants were up in arms over the decision to stand down unvaccinated participants, with one anonymous hoop stating there wasn’t any notice given to those who needed it most.

“We were told that day, you can’t ride if you’ve not had one vaccination and from November 1, we have to have both,” they said.

“Victoria gave their participants a month’s notice, and we get none. If we had warning, we would have got our jabs earlier, or at least made other plans not to ride until December.”
On November 1, further changes are set to be enforced. For jockeys; the following applies from November 1.

  • – Jockey zones will be removed allowing jockeys to ride at any race meeting within NSW. 
  • – All jockeys and apprentices may return to regular trackwork duties. 
  • – Apprentice jockeys may resume stable duties. –
  • – Jockey’s rooms to revert to one person per 4 square metre, and segregation in separate rooms not required if the jockey room complies with the 4 square metre rules. 
  • – Jockeys who have been based in the Greater Sydney Area can return to recreational activities in accordance with NSW Health orders. 
  • – Jockeys may attend medical and professional appointments whilst undertaking COVIDsafe practices.