Resuming Training Under Alert Level Three
Harness Racing New Zealand has welcomed today’s decision allowing trainers to return to work when the country moves to Alert Level Three next Tuesday as a “massive boost for the industry”.
“It is critical that trainers adhere to the new conditions that have been put in place to ensure our industry continues to do all we can to eliminate COVID-19. It will mean a change to some work practices but I am confident our trainers will adapt and this is a significant step forward for us all”, said Harness Racing New Zealand Chief Executive, Peter Jensen.
WorkSafe NZ state that on-site work is permitted for the training of Standardbreds, provided that all employers have a COVID-19 safety plan in place, with appropriate health and safety and physical distancing measures for staff and contractors.
An Order and Direction on the exact details pertaining to today’s announcement is on the HRNZ website here. The directive means that trainers will be able to work their horses - at their own tracks, at other trainers’ tracks, and at public training centres such as Pukekohe, Cambridge and Rangiora. Horses will be able to be fast-worked, which is not a permitted activity under Alert Level Four. HRNZ is awaiting clarification from MPI and WorkSafe around whether horses can be worked on the beach.
In the build-up to Alert Level Three, trainers will be able to visit training centres to do some preparations in advance as long as they do only with people from within their bubble and observe strict social distancing and sanitising protocols.
HRNZ chief executive Peter Jensen says, “We are delighted we have got to this point as we look forward to a return to racing on May 29.”
HRNZ will continue to work with WorkSafe to confirm protocols related to conducting workouts, trials and race meetings under Alert Level Three. We expect to have this signed off next week.