Thu | Aug 6, 2020

No horsing around! - SVREL evicts two, including top jockey, after COVID-19 protocol breach

Published:Wednesday | July 8, 2020 | 12:21 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Gooden
Gooden

A VETERAN jockey was among two persons evicted from Caymanas Park on Sunday as Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) enforced its zero-tolerance approach aimed at patrons and members of the professional groups, who flout COVID-19 protocols established at the racetrack, especially the mandatory wearing of masks.

The first sport to resume locally, restricted to limited spectators after a three-month shutdown, horse racing returned to Caymanas Park and its satellite off-track betting parlours on Saturday, June 20, amid protocols hammered out among SVREL, the professional groups, the Jamaica Racing Commission and health authorities.

Marshals patrolling the grounds, lower stands and upper North Lounge deck have been noticed reminding patrons to maintain social distance and keep masks on at all times possible.

Compliance has been high, but on Sunday the security personnel had to be called into action by the racetrack’s management.

“Two persons were escorted off the property by our security personnel on Sunday, July 5, as a result of the deliberate flouting of the rules,” General Manager Lorna Gooden told The Gleaner.

“SVREL is committed to ensuring adherence to the current protocols, established to protect the health and safety of the entire racing community. We will maintain a zero-tolerance approach to anyone who puts the community, the industry and our stakeholders at risk by not following these protocols,” she added.

Jason McKay, chief executive officer of McKay Security, who has deployed extra resources to maintain the protocols, said evictions will be carried out, and with the assistance of the police should there be any resistance.

“The measures that have been put in place were to ensure the safety of everyone and the continuation of the sport. No single person is more important than everyone’s safety. This is a committed effort and will be done with the assistance of the police, if necessary. We will be evicting anyone not compliant with wearing a mask on the plant, not just on racedays,” McKay pointed out.

REOPENING NOT EASY

Meanwhile, Gooden said it was no easy task reopening the plant for live racing, more so with limited spectators.

“We wish to remind our valued stakeholders that our security personnel and marshals are hard at work, ensuring that each person follows the guidelines and protocols in order to protect everyone in the park. We have gone above and beyond to collaborate on developing a plan that has allowed us to reopen spectator racing, and we will not permit anyone to put the industry at risk for another closure, due to carelessness or lack of vigilance,” she insisted.