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Crowds at Victorian race meetings will be allowed to return as early as this weekend.

Limited crowds will be allowed to attend race meetings again from this weekend with Yarra Valley on Saturday and Warrnambool on Sunday to have up to 500 spectators.

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome spectators back to Victorian race meetings for the first time since early March this weekend at Yarra Valley and Warrnambool, which paves the way for other meetings in the weeks ahead.

“This is an important milestone for our industry in the COVID-19 challenge and we thank the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, and the Victorian Government both for this opportunity and their support of Victorian racing during the pandemic.

“Everyone in Victorian racing has worked incredibly hard to safely continue racing and training throughout the pandemic was has helped protect the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs across Victoria. The return of spectators is further reward for their efforts.

“In the initial period it will be a different experience for those spectators who attend a race meeting with some restrictions on their movements, but it is important for the community and our sport that we make these initial steps in a safe and responsible manner.”

CRV Chief Executive, Scott Whiteman, said: “Like all racing fans, our Clubs have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to safely welcome back some spectators and it’s fantastic that Yarra Valley and Warrnambool will be first to do that this weekend.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for our Country Clubs so the resumption of spectator attendance is really important as we enter the summer period with many Clubs scheduled to host popular community race meetings in the months ahead.

“The opportunity to have up to 500 spectators at a race meeting is a welcome first step and we hope to be able to build upon that number in the weeks and months ahead should Victoria remain on top of the virus.”

RV explained that Racing Clubs who apply and are approved for spectators to attend their meeting will publicise the details of this on their website and communicate directly to their members. This will be supported by communication to owners via their acceptance emails.

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