COVID-19 Affects the World and the NZ Horse Racing Industry
On March 19, 2020 the New Plymouth's Midweek Race was closed to the public; even though the racetrack did not allow general admission onsite because of the recent COVID-19 crisis. Only trainers, TAB staff, and stable hands have the permission to attend. This is intriguing, considering that most venues like cinemas and auditoriums are no longer open, even to personnel. Therefore, why did New Plymouth Raceway remain open, despite being closed to the public because of COVID-19? New Plymouth Raceway is one of several venues determined to remain open. It is to preserve the professional commitments and income made by trainers, stable hands, and TAB staff.
If New Zealand's raceways were to fully close their doors to everyone, including these important personnel members, they would have no other outlet to perform their chosen profession. Furthermore, they would lose their jobs, and New Zealand's horse racing industry would die. Therefore, keeping them open keeps the industry alive. The fact that raceways have to take these measures to preserve their industry demonstrates how COVID-19 is changing the industry. In order to sustain New Zealand's horse racing industry, their major venues have to be spectated by its considerable personnel. This had made the industry become a private affair for the next four weeks.
New Zealand Associations Take Measures Against Covid-19
Since March 18, the industry's three major associations have taken emergency measures in order to protect the earnings of their members. These associations include New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, the New Zealand Jockey Association, and the TAB. Together, they have created a set of emergency formalities in order to enable their personnel to get a salary; yet help the racing industry respect and adhere to COVID-19 social distancing and health precautions. Limited horse races only to personnel from these organizations one of them. Further formalities include excluding anyone sick from attending racing events. Jockeys will not have the permission to travel between islands, encourage jockeys to report immediately any ailments; and encouraging jockeys to increase their weight intake.
All of these measures will remain in effect for four weeks. Furthermore, all animals essential to industry will still be cared for. This is all done with the comprehension that COVID-19 is a serious matter. It requires sensible precautions in order to preserve the health and safety of the general public and the industry's employees. As a result, the industry has become secluded. It is doing everything it can to protect its employees and the public. Private races and the safety precautions are in place to preserve the industry in New Zealand for more than just its employees; but also for the general public once they are able to open their doors again.