Fri | Sep 25, 2020

Racing at risk ... again - JRC keeping close eye on COVID-19 spike

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2020 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
COURT CALL ridden by Anthony Thomas (left) gallops to victory ahead of BIGMAN UNION ridden by Ryan Lewis at Caymanas Park recently.
COURT CALL ridden by Anthony Thomas (left) gallops to victory ahead of BIGMAN UNION ridden by Ryan Lewis at Caymanas Park recently.
Metcalfe
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Chairman of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), Clovis Metcalfe, has warned that his organisation is closely monitoring the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country and that a positive test at Caymanas Park will likely lead to the re-suspension of racing in the country

There has been a surge in recent weeks with the country recording 20 new positive cases on Sunday increasing the total to 1,023.

Jamaica also recorded another COVID-19-related death, pushing the tally to 14. The deceased is a 37-year-old man from St Catherine, the same parish in which Caymanas Park is located. The health ministry says there are now 206 active cases with recoveries remaining at 745.

“Yes, we are paying close attention to it especially because St Catherine was a hotspot initially and so we are keeping a daily watch on it,” said Metcalfe. “We are absolutely not taking anything for granted because if there is a spike in the virus at the racetrack, then we can forget about racing until next year or until the vaccination is found.”

“We were the first to restart (live sports locally) and we are setting an example for all sports to follow because we see ourselves as the leaders when it comes to that,” Metcalfe added.

RACING SHUTDOWN

Racing restarted at Caymanas Park on June 20 following an almost three-month shutdown of the industry, as the Government battled to control the spread of the virus.

Metcalfe underscored that his organisation, along with promoters Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment, and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), has worked assiduously over the past four months to ensure that all the protocols and guidelines that have been put in place are strictly adhered to by patrons attending the racetrack.

“To be honest, what we have learnt from this coronavirus is if you wear your mask, sanitise and you have social distancing, while it is possible, it is unlikely of the virus being spread,” said Metcalfe.

“There are temperature checks at the entrance for everybody and so as chairman of this commission and the commission who have set the protocols, we are happy that they are being carried out and we have representatives from both the JRC and BGLC on the ground monitoring the situation each day,” he added.

“We have interested owners and stakeholders who have been sending messages to us that they are happy that the policies are being enforced and strictly adhered to,” Metcalfe noted.

Racing is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at Caymanas Park.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com