COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Important Information
Update from BRC Chairman Neville Bell - Wednesday, 1 April 2020
I would like to update you on the measures your Club is taking to protect the health of our community and to ensure the viability of racing and the BRC during this challenging time.
It has been over two weeks since we started racing without patrons. We are grateful that we can continue to race and that we can help to keep the industry moving by adhering to strict health and safety measures. We all share a passion for racing and we know there is nothing better than the live experience particularly during our Carnival days. However, I hope you can take some comfort knowing that your Club is playing a critical role in keeping racing going so Australians can still place a bet on Brisbane racing.
Please be aware that the Club is now operating on minimal staff. Sadly, this week we had to stand down over 40 full-time and part-time staff across departments including operations, marketing, finance and sales. Hundreds of loyal casual staff had already been told that we did not have shifts for them. These were necessary financial measures but difficult due to the great respect that we have for our wonderful staff members. We explained that while race meetings were continuing, we were unable to generate revenue. The financial model within Queensland racing has been found wanting during this crisis because Clubs must keep racing without any raceday income and no direct revenue from wagering. While Clubs receive a subsidy from Racing Queensland for racing costs, the subsidy is only a fraction of the actual costs of operating and maintaining the racecourses, particularly for metropolitan racing.
Race Clubs in other states that receive some direct wagering revenue have the option of cutting prizemoney. The BRC does not have this option. We are advised by Racing Queensland that a Clubs compensation programme will soon be announced.
Fortunately, the BRC’s property Master Plan and diversification strategy started five years ago continues to cover our debt commitment. Along with our media rights income, the BRC can meet commitments including racing operations, venue maintenance and debt repayments. As we have previously announced, the cancellation of the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival will incur a loss of about $3 million. The cancellation of the Carnival means Members cannot enjoy our best time of the year. We appreciate your support and will acknowledge this support before we reopen.
As well as responsibly managing finances during this crisis, BRC staff are going to extraordinary lengths to protect against a COVID-19 case shutting down racing. Following are some examples of initiatives in place:
• Eagle Farm racecourse and infield stables precinct have been locked down and trackwork is restricted to on-course trainers exclusively
• Doomben is open to off-course trainers for trackwork
• Tie-up stalls and barriers are disinfected prior to and after trials/jumpouts
• Access control points have been secured at both racecourses
• Every person entering the racecourse must be on a list. Gate staff require identification and a mobile number
• Temperature testing began on Wednesday 25 March and continues every race day
• Jockeys have been set up in break out areas – Falvelon Bar (Doomben) and Legends Bar (Eagle Farm). Zones have been marked out in line with guidelines of four square metres per person
• Additional cleaning measures are undertaken prior to and throughout the day
• Saddlecloths and barrier gear are washed regularly with disinfectant
• Hand sanitiser stations are provided for use in all areas
• Key racing staff are cross-trained as a contingency if staff become sick
We are incredibly proud of the response from our team and from all Queensland race clubs working for the industry we all love. Every stakeholder is making some sacrifice in this difficult time but the race clubs are certainly doing their part.
Thank you again for your support. We are very much looking forward to bouncing back after this crisis and seeing all of our Members back at the races.
Neville Bell OAM
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from BRC Chairman Neville Bell - Friday, 27 March 2020
Dear Brisbane Racing Club Members and Patrons,
We are shattered to inform you that the Channel Seven 2020 Brisbane Racing Carnival presented by TAB will not go ahead following a decision by Racing Queensland.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our lives on a daily basis and our industry is not immune to the disruption. Racing Queensland’s announcement follows its decision to implement new zones for the state’s racing industry from this weekend, banning movements of horses between these zones while the COVID-19 response continues.
The Brisbane Racing Club has strongly supported the health of our society and our industry in any measures taken in recent weeks. We understand the seriousness of this situation. And we’re not alone. We send our best wishes to the many people who have been impacted by COVID-19 and to our fellow Clubs and sporting organisations that are confronting this unforeseen challenge.
We thank you for your support of the BRC. We are grateful for the messages we have received in recent weeks. We began selling Carnival packages and tickets earlier this year before we knew of the impact of COVID-19. We will refund all purchases. The BRC Sales team will be in contact with all ticket purchasers shortly.
We continue to race, with a meeting at Doomben tomorrow, however all meetings are now strictly patron-free as the industry applies strict health and hygiene measures to ensure we can keep racing.
Our Club has previously dealt with disruption – the Stradbroke Handicap was among the many races not run between 1942 and 1945 as the nation endured the Second World War. We will emerge from this time to create new memories for racing in Brisbane. We came out of the Second World War to watch Bernborough land the Doomben 10,000-Doomben Cup double in 1946. We can only trust that we will soon be back to celebrating all that we love about this great sport.
Neville Bell OAM
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from BRC CEO Tony Partridge - Monday, 16 March 2020
Dear Brisbane Racing Club Members and Patrons,
Australia’s response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted industries across the country, including the racing industry. I know that you would have been following many of these developments.
In response to the Federal Government’s advice on combatting the spread of the virus, Racing Queensland has issued a statement advising that all race meetings, trials and trackwork across the state will be conducted without patrons until further notice.
We do not know how long this situation will be in place. The COVID-19 developments are unprecedented in modern times and we simply don’t know the answer to some questions.
However, I can assure you that our Brisbane Racing Club team has been working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared for various possible scenarios in the near future.
This includes collaboration with Racing Queensland and with industry stakeholders regarding the most practicable way to continue to race.
We will keep you informed during this period and provide updates on the status of planning for the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
We support the measures to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our industry participants.
We are grateful that racing can continue for now while other sports face interruption.
While patrons are unable to attend race meetings, we hope the industry can demonstrate its worth by continuing to generate excitement, revenue for our Government and employment, in a challenging time.
Now, as much as ever, we value your support and understanding.
Please CLICK HERE read the statement from Racing Queensland.
Brisbane Racing Club
Update from Racing Queensland - Monday, 16 March 2020
Racing Queensland has advised that all TAB and non-TAB meeting across the state will be conducted without patrons until further notice.
Following the Federal Government’s advice that all non-essential, organised gatherings of more than 500 people be cancelled to manage the spread of COVID-19, RQ has confirmed that all future meetings – along with trials and trackwork – will be limited to key race-day personnel.
Access will be permitted to licenced participants who have a horse or greyhound engaged at the meeting, along with essential club, QRIC and RQ staff; broadcast services; approved accredited media; and associated staff required to conduct racing activities including veterinarians and ambulance services.
Access will not be permitted to the general public in any code, nor owners or on-course wagering providers.
“We are experiencing a unique and complex situation which requires Racing Queensland to adopt a uniform approach,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“The health and safety of our 40,000 participants, including those who are employed in the industry, remains our top-priority and we will continue to work with our clubs, QRIC and participants to navigate this period.
“We are mindful of the carnivals we have on the horizon - and the impact that this decision may have on our clubs – but it is important that we restrict on-course access in the short-term to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 and the potential impact to our industry.”
Additionally, access will not be permitted to any key race-day personnel in Queensland that:
Is suffering from COVID-19 symptoms or is otherwise unwell;
Has been to a country considered at higher risk of COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
Is subject to self-isolation requirements imposed by the Government; or
Has been in close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Update - Friday, 13 March 2020
The Brisbane Racing Club continues to monitor the COVID-19 updates from public health authorities.
The Federal Government has advised that all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people will be restricted from Monday, 16 March.
Tomorrow's Paddyfest event has been cancelled. The Brisbane Racing Club will refund all tickets purchased. More information regarding Paddyfest can be found here.
While the BRC does not have a race meeting this weekend, we will attend a meeting with all major southeast Queensland thoroughbred clubs on Monday to discuss multiple issues including the COVID-19 response.
That meeting will help to determine the next steps for the racing industry ahead of our meetings at Doomben on Wednesday 18 March and Eagle Farm on Saturday 21 March.
In the meantime, the BRC urges all of our stakeholders to be aware of the latest public health information to ensure the best measures can be taken against the spread of the virus.
We thank you for your understanding.
If you have any questions, please contact our office:
(07) 3268 2171 (weekdays)