The GBGB Working Group met earlier today to continue to review the GBGB COVID-19 Operational Policy.
In light of the government’s updates yesterday, Senior Stipendiary Steward Paul Illingworth has said:
“Firstly, from Monday 29thJune, for those tracks operating under Phase 4 of the Operational Policy, there will be no minimum break between races as per prior to lockdown. Furthermore, to accommodate the start of Open Racing again, the maximum number of people involved with delivering racing at the tracks will rise from 50 in normal graded racing to 75 for open racing.
“From 4thJuly, the further easing of national social distancing restrictions will also lead to a change in loading traps from keeping 2m apart to 1m+. We will communicate these further changes to the Operational Policy in due course.”
GBGB Managing Director Mark Bird said of the further lifting of restrictions:
“Whilst the update from the government is of course welcomed, we must all remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and that caution remains essential. Everyone associated with greyhound racing needs to stay alert and focused on continuing to limit any potential spread of the virus, especially with the further lifting of some restrictions. The health and safety of everyone visiting our tracks continues to be paramount and guides our decisions, along with the welfare of our greyhounds.
“Following this week’s announcements, I know that people across our sport are keen to establish whether restaurants and bar areas at racecourses will be able to open from 4thJuly and thereby provide an opportunity for owners to watch racing from those enclosures. This is not a matter for GBGB; rather tracks will now need to contact their local authority licensing teams to discuss whether this will be permitted. We hope that on a local and regional level this will enable owners to get back to watching their greyhounds race soon, after an incredibly patient wait.
“Racing behind closed doors measures, however, will still be in place from 4thJuly and GBGB licensed areas will continue to be subject to any updated version of the COVID-19 Operational Policy. At GBGB, we remain in discussions with DCMS to ensure that we are at the forefront of implementing any changes which gets us back to a safe environment for welcoming spectators more widely.”