With the constantly developing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Greyhound Racing NSW believes it is crucial to keep all participants up to date on all news involving the industry.

As such, we are encouraging all participants with questions pertaining to the COVID-19 situation, to email us here at GRNSW.

Each day I will do my best to answer questions from participants and publish them across our website and social media platforms around lunchtime.

If you have any questions, please email them to the following address: update@grnsw.com.au

Any important developments - such as this week’s rescheduling of the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg - will also be published in media releases across our GRNSW network as required.

Here’s what our teams at GRNSW are being asked right now, with the responding answers (and please keep in mind that this is both an unprecedented and fast-moving situation).

1.Q: What advice are you hearing about the chances of someone catching COVID-19, or passing it on if they have it, to their greyhound?

A: The advice my team have received from Dr Julia Crawford the Australian Veterinary Association President is that all current evidence supports the fact that the spread of COVID-19 in the human population is due to close human to human contact and that there is no evidence that pets are capable of spreading the disease to humans. Dr Crawford’s advice for Australian pet owners who find themselves quarantined with their pets was that, so long as they minimise close contact with their pet and practice good hand hygiene before and after handling their pets, there was no risk to human or pet from being in contact during this period. Dr Crawford also gave quarantined pet owners guidance around how to safely access veterinary care for their animal whilst they were in quarantine. She stressed the absolute need for pet owners to make phone contact with their veterinarian before they do anything, to enable veterinarians to make appropriate and safe arrangements for examining and treating sick animals.

2. Q: It was a very strange feeling at Wentworth Park last night, why can’t we let people in, and keep the crowd to under 500?

A:  It was not a decision we took lightly to shut crowds out of our venues, but one we made after significant consultation with all parties, and one we believe was responsible, and the best for the sport to be able to continue safely, and to keep to a minimum the risks to our participants. The important thing for the livelihood of our participants, is that the industry continues to operate.

3. Q: What will happen to the Easter Egg if the coronavirus is still a major problem around the world at the end of May - like most people expect?

A: When we announced that the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg was being rescheduled to May-June, we added that COVID-19 is a constantly moving situation, and we will continue to monitor things and if necessary, reassess it as the event approaches. We made the decision we had to make when we did, but we believe there is no point making a further decision on the Egg until it draws closer.

4. Q: What procedures are clubs doing to stop unauthorised attendees from entering?

A: This is being continually monitored, and clubs are providing advice where issues arise and they will be immediately addressed. As I mentioned the other day, all trainers and attendants are advised to display their ID cards so that staff can confirm they are permitted to enter.

5. Q: I know you have said that things will be changing by the day, but are there any plans to cut back on racing, particularly the Non-TAB track racing?

A: You are right, things are constantly evolving. We do have contingency plans ready to implement if needed, including maximising biosecurity at tracks, At the moment the advice we have from the government is to continue as we are, but that may change at any time and we all just need to be ready for those changes.

6. Q: With the winter months approaching can trainers having only one (1) greyhound racing, remove their greyhound after racing earlier than the mandatory one race?

A: We will be looking ahead and planning for whatever awaits us as an industry, and as you have said winter is not too far away. But as COVID-19 is a rapidly moving situation, we cannot look too far ahead as we must first deal with the matters on our doorstep. I will however bring this question up with GWIC this week and have an answer for you.

7. Q: Hi Tony, I have a question. Do all rules apply for attending trials in regards to public and non-licensed persons?

A: Trials are continuing, however these will be conducted under the same strict guidelines as race meetings, with no members of the general public to attend and with only trainers, handlers, and officials to be on track.

Keep your questions coming in and everyone please stay safe and be vigilant and have a good weekend.

Tony Mestrov.