Crowd involvement on NSW racetracks could happen as early as next week after being crowd-free because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys is hopeful of getting the green light to allow owners back on course to watch their horses race.
Sydney city racetracks have not had crowds since prior to the Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill in March, with the entire autumn carnival restricted to essential personal only.
V’Landy’s would like crowds back next month, and horse owners even earlier.
“They can stay and watch their race and then go,” V’Landys told RSN.
“Then we can gradually bring the members back and then the public which is going to be over a staged period.
“The owners are the lifeblood of our industry, they are the ones that invest.
“They are the first ones we should have back as they are the ones that are subsidising the industry.”
V’Landys said he was in constant dialogue with the state government about getting crowds back to the racetrack.
He said crowds would need to be capped initially, ideally in hospitality areas where clubs could generate revenue.
V’Landy’s pointed out in the past 50 days in NSW the infection rate has been less than 0.5 per cent.
“You are not going to get it much lower than half a per cent unless you go out and eradicate the virus,” V’Landys said.
“The risk now is extremely low so there is no reason why crowds couldn’t be let in.
“You continue with social distancing and hygiene and we can have infrared cameras measuring temperatures.
“With the relaxing of the social distancing measures we want to see if that has any effect, and if it doesn’t and the infection rate stays at half a per cent, which it has for 50 days, the risk of catching the virus at a venue is next to nil.”
Meanwhile, Racing NSW announced on Monday that there would be no changes to the programming of their spring carnival dates and prize money would be restored to pre-COVID-19 levels from next month.