The Government published, on Friday last, its Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business following the period of COVID-19 restrictions.
Greyhound racing is not mentioned in the Roadmap but Phase 3 of the Roadmap provides for ‘behind closed doors sporting activities events where arrangements are in place to enable participants to maintain social distancing.’ to be permitted from 29th June.
The IGB has been engaging with the Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine (DAFM) regarding the absence of a reference to greyhound racing in the Roadmap and has outlined the proven ability of the industry to comply with all COVID-19 protocols, as demonstrated in the successful period of ‘racing behind closed doors’ between 12th -24th March 2020. The operation of a ‘one person, one dog policy’ together with the availability of extensive outdoor spaces at all greyhound tracks readily facilities the necessary social distancing requirements.
DAFM has today confirmed that the relevant date for resumption of greyhound racing behind closed doors is 29th June 2020 and that greyhound racing falls within Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap.
The IGB, at this point, would intend commencing with the undertaking of trials with effect from 8th June 2020 when phase 2 of the Roadmap becomes operative. Phase 2 provides for an extension of the 5km distance to 20km of the home and for small groups where strict social distancing is maintained. Compliance with these requirements will necessitate strict trial schedules, managed through a booked system, with a very limited number of persons on site (including staff) for attending trial sessions. This is essential to comply with the Roadmap and to facilitate social distancing requirements.
The IGB will publish further detail of the trialling arrangement well in advance of 8th June. Please note all arrangements are subject to the latest Government directives and public health advice which may change in the coming weeks.
The IGB very much looks forward to a resumption of greyhound racing and is maintaining all tracks in a ‘racing ready’ condition. Necessary works are also being progressed to ensure full compliance with all COVID-19 protocols when racing activity resumes.