Saunas and showers to be banned as jockeys face big changes when racing returns
Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) chief executive Paul Struthers has mapped out a number of changes riders will have to undertake when racing returns in Britain, which could include extensive testing and legging up from officials rather than trainers.
Speaking on Racing TV's Luck on Sunday programme, Struthers also confirmed saunas and showers would be banned. They can produce aerosols when used that could infect others in close proximity.
Meanwhile, in order to maintain social distancing rules, members of racecourse staff could be responsible for legging up jockeys in the paddock to reduce the number of people making close contact.
'It will look different for jockeys'
Horseracing could be one of the first sports to restart in Britain following the coronavirus outbreak and the resumption of racing steering group are responsible for making behind-closed-doors racing a safe environment for all participants.
Struthers said: "Jockeys can expect things to look very different indeed. We have been involved in conversations with the team at the BHA leading resumption and particularly Jerry Hill, who has complete confidence from us and our members.
"Social distancing is hugely important so it will look different for jockeys. It is important that sport reflects the government's advice to the wider public and it doesn't feel like it's a special case. We also need to risk-assess all the activities. There may be occasions when the way sport behaves is slightly different to how the public need to behave. If that is the case we need to be able to confidently support why it is different.
"Going racing will be safer than going to the supermarket due to the screening, testing and all the measures in place on the racecourse. Saunas will be out of use, we know that, as will showers – which will cause unpleasantness – but even a cold shower can create an aerosol.
"There will be other elements we don't know. Will racecourses provide a nutrition offering or will jockeys have to bring their own provisions? We don't know. Even legging up horses in the parade ring. The likelihood would be that they'd be one or two individuals who are tasked with that, rather than the trainer or the trainer's employee.
"The view that we're hearing from the jockeys is that some of these things will be difficult but if that's what it takes to get us back racing, then we'll make do."
Struthers also spoke regarding the process of someone at a behind-closed-doors fixture subsequently testing positive for the coronavirus. The individual and everyone who had been in contact with them would be required to go into quarantine. The new NHS contact tracing app could be used to track the spread of the virus within racecourses and racing circles.
"Whatever the advice given to the public is should be the same that everyone follows," he added. "If they test positive there is a likelihood there would be a requirement for participants to download the NHS contact tracing app. It is likely they would then have to go into quarantine, as would anybody who has been in contact with them."
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