Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) have announced that New Zealand will move to level four of the COVID-19 alert system in 48 hours, which means that all racing will cease for the next four weeks from Tuesday, March 24.
It’s an ominous sign for Australian greyhound racing, which is looking at its own impending shutdown if the outcome from Tuesday night’s cabinet meeting increases the coronavirus counter-measures any further.
Today, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand, Greyhound Racing New Zealand and the NZ TAB met to discuss what steps the industry needs to take to protect the livelihoods of its participants.
All racing in New Zealand is to be shut down for four weeks as the country moves to level four of the COVID-19 alert system.
GRNZ said that “while the country will effectively be in lockdown, the welfare of our animals remains as an essential service during this time”.
They also acknowledged that greyhounds will still need to be fed, exercised and cared for during this time.
“People caring for our animals will need to look at stringent procedures around staffing levels and any contact between staff members,” said GRNZ.
“As has been announced the government is providing financial assistance for those impacted and the codes will provide guidance for those wanting help as to how they go about seeking that assistance.
“We recognise that these are challenging times for everyone within our industry and we will be working closely with those impacted to help them through the coming weeks.”
New Zealand has been on level three alert and will move to level four from Wednesday, which means:
- People instructed to stay at home
- Educational facilities closed
- Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
- Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
- Travel severely limited
- Major reprioritisation of healthcare services