COVID-19 UPDATE and THANK YOU TO OUR MEMBERS
Friday, 12 June 2020
We would like to thank our Members for the many messages we received over the last fortnight as we staged some feature races during the TAB Stradbroke Season. It was wonderful to see two Queensland horses win our Group 1 features on Saturday. Not long after Eagle Farm-trained Rothfire claimed the XXXX Dry J.J. Atkins, Tyzone got the best of an old-fashioned finish to the TAB Stradbroke Handicap.
For a very brief moment, the racing helped to take our minds off the fact that COVID-19 has so heavily impacted our Brisbane Racing Carnival. We shared the frustrations of our Members when only 20 spectators were allowed into Eagle Farm last Saturday for TAB Stradbroke Day. We would have loved to welcome more people in a similar way to how clubs, pubs and restaurants were able to have 20 people in segregated zones from last weekend.
Here’s the current situation for the BRC:
The BRC had been told that we could not have more than 20 patrons on course because race clubs are still subject to an order from Racing Queensland (RQ) that clubs must conduct patron-free racing. The BRC argued that race clubs should not be treated less favourably than restaurants and that there are many reasons why race clubs should be permitted many more than 20 people. It was then confirmed that race clubs may have 20 patrons. We know that allowing 20 people is impractical when we have 3000 Members.
BRC continues to argue that race clubs should be permitted to adopt the Hospitality Industry COVID-Safe Plan for its areas like lawns, bars and restaurants outside of the licensed racing zone. Unfortunately, this option is not available. Racing Queensland has been asked to submit an Industry Plan for race clubs. RQ assures the BRC that it is working very hard to finalise the Industry Plan. BRC must then follow an Industry Plan for crowds to return once approved.
Our venues are made up of multiple zones. Our COVID-Safe Plan provided to Racing Queensland outlines how we can have over 1000 patrons and still have only one person per four square metres. If we were allowed 1,000 patrons we would permit Members and Owners to book first.
With one day’s notice last week to invite 20 patrons, we conducted a ballot that included the name of every Member. A number of Members were drawn but could not attend in which case we drew another name until we filled the room. We felt that was the fairest way to invite Members.
During this challenging period we are proud that Eagle Farm and Doomben race meetings have generated hundreds of millions of dollars of wagering turnover. A percentage of the revenue flows to Racing Queensland for distribution to participants and the Government. We fought hard for feature and Group racing to occur when the Brisbane Racing Carnival was cancelled and won the right to our TAB Stradbroke Season. The BRC received a compensation package from Racing Queensland to compensate for some of the lost carnival income.
Now that we have moved from protecting the Club during the crisis to recovery phase, we are focussed on getting Members back to the races and acknowledging that Members have not had the benefit of their membership since March. Our Board is considering all options to thank Members for their patience as part of the upcoming renewal process. Our Chairman will write to Members shortly explaining that process and the Board’s decision.
Whilst the adverse effects to income will be felt for some time, we are satisfied that the BRC has weathered the COVID-19 storm in a fiscally responsible manner so that we may continue to uphold our traditions and allow our Members to enjoy the live racing experience at our famous tracks. If you have any questions or comments please call our Membership department on 3268 2171 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the opportunity to talk through your concerns or answer your questions.
Thank you for your continued support of the BRC.
Chief Executive Officer