Following the UK government initiating a three-week lockdown protocol to combat the coronavirus on Monday, the British Racing Authority, Racecourse Association and The Horsemen’s Group released a guide to assist racecourses, yards and studs during this period. According to the lockdown protocols, people must stay home except for very limited purposes, all non-essential shops and community spaces are closed and all gatherings of more than two people in public are not allowed. Tuesday’s guidelines are as follows:
- Staff may travel directly to work to care for horses
- Staff who are essential to the care of horses in respect of the above, and who absolutely cannot work from home, should continue to travel to work during the period of these restrictions.
- Groundstaff may still travel to work to perform core outdoor duties on racecourses or other facilities, provided requirements around social distancing and gatherings of no more than two people are followed.
- Horses should of course be cared for at all times– including access to food and water, clean bedding and exercise. Staff are allowed to travel to work to provide this, however, the standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding their welfare, rather than their fitness to race.
- Any non-essential activity beyond this should be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided.
- Staff at yards must follow government advice relating to social distancing when outside–remaining at least two metres apart and avoiding gatherings of more than two people, apart from members of their own household, at any time.
- Suppliers of feed, bedding and appropriate veterinary medicines will remain open for business under similar government advice that allows pet shops to remain open for access to animal supplies.
- The Royal College of Veterinary surgeons has advised its members to reduce face-to-face veterinary consultations to focus on emergency appointments, fulfillment of urgent prescriptions and maintaining the food supply chain.
- The Farriers Registration Council (FRC)’s interpretation of the government guidance is that registered farriers can continue to provide essential services to equines, and they should continue to attend to equines using their judgement as to matters of priority and/or urgency, with provisos around hygiene and social distancing.
This current guidance, after liaising with Defra and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, will be updated as needed. For more details and the full guidelines, please go to www.bha.co.uk.