TORONTO, May 11, 2020 – Woodbine Entertainment announced today that effective Wednesday, May 13 all restricted personnel accessing its backstretch will be mandated to wear a mask or face covering as a further precautionary measure against COVID-19.
The only exception to wearing a mask or face covering will be when a rider is actively breezing or actively galloping a horse, otherwise face masks must always be on and covering the nose and mouth. Jockeys will be permitted to access the Woodbine backstretch to breeze horses under strict physical distancing protocols beginning on Wednesday as well.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Woodbine Entertainment’s backstretch has remained open as an essential service to stable and exercise upwards of 1,100 Thoroughbred racehorses. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including stabling, have been deemed essential workplaces by the Province. Access to the backstretch has been restricted to essential personnel only and Woodbine Entertainment has implemented many health and safety protocols to limit the spread of Covid-19.
These health and safety measures include:
- Established a COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee that regularly consults with the AGCO and a physician from the Osler Health Network who has been retained by Woodbine Entertainment as a medical consultant;
- Strict physical distancing protocols for jockeys who access the backstretch to breeze horses;
- Limited access to the backstretch by essential employees and licensed personnel only;
- Hired EMS to verbally screen and take temperatures of the limited individuals that are permitted to access the backstretch;
- Physical distancing practices deployed by using 33 barns spread across 200 acres;
- All common areas are closed and have been since before the Government closed non-essential businesses;
- Additional sanitization stations and signage to promote proper hygiene deployed throughout the entire backstretch.
- Reduced hours of access to the backstretch including a mandatory closure to everyone during midday.
- Horse vans arriving with Canadian horses returning from the U.S. must unload outside the backstretch area and be met by Canadian based staff to walk horses to barn areas.