Christmas shoppers will pack Chadstone and thousands will be at the MCG on Boxing Day but Victorian racing clubs still need permission to have 500 spectators at a race meeting.
Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger hopes that situation will change soon.
Hundreds of thousands of bargain hunters headed into shopping centres for Black Friday sales over the weekend. But only 500 spectators were able to attend race meetings from last Saturday.
Punters hadn’t been allowed onto a Victorian racetrack since March as the COVID-19 crisis engulfed the state. Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger said it was time to further ease restrictions.
“I think there’s a few anomalies out there at the moment and we’re pushing the Government appropriately hard to move that next stage,” Kruger told RSN.
“I think we’ve got to be recognising the Government is trying to do the right thing protecting the health of the public out there.
“We’re very supportive of that but we’ll be pushing our case that the time is very near for us to be making that next step.”
Shoppers will flock to Melbourne’s major shopping centres in the lead-up to Christmas. Photo: Paul Jeffers / The Australian.Source:News Corp Australia
Kruger said every racing club needed to submit a COVID plan to health authorities for approval to have 500 people at a meeting.
But he expected that situation to change in the coming weeks after a crowd of 25,000 was approved for the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India.
“I don’t have a specific date (for the easing of restrictions),” Kruger said.
“But when we’re talking about having tens of thousands of people at a cricket event on Boxing Day, which will be fantastic, I would think that it would only be a few weeks before we should be seeing a change away from the current framework.”
However, Kruger had good news for racehorse owners. Racing Victoria will drop the ban on owners visiting stables to see their horses later this week.
“We’ll be changing our protocols so that owners can visit stables to see their horses from this Friday,” Kruger said.
“Hopefully the on-course experience for owners and others changes significantly in the next few weeks as we move through the current government restrictions.
“Our owners have been fantastic through the whole process, which has had an impact on their ability to enjoy the experience.”
Originally published asRV boss: Time for crowds to return
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