Important Procedures For Maryland Horsemen During Covid-19 Crisis

The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are continuing to work together on various procedures related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Effective immediately, no visitors will be permitted in the stable areas at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, per the MJC. If backstretch workers order food from off site, they must meet delivery personnel at the stable gate.

Though patrons are not permitted in the clubhouse/grandstand at Laurel during live racing, employees with racing commission badges will be able to cash checks in the grandstand on Saturdays only beginning March 21. Current live race days at Laurel are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As is the case with other Stronach Group racetracks in California and Florida, food service will not be available at Laurel Park for owners, trainers, grooms and others required to be on hand for live racing. All horsemen and personnel must enter the facility through the Horsemen’s entrance adjacent the racing office—the grandstand will not be accessible—and the MJC will provide seating and televisions for horsemen and their employees in TIPS on the first floor of the clubhouse.

There will be no food service and wagering will not be available March 14.

The MTHA has arranged for the track kitchen at Laurel to remain open until 7 p.m. every day until further notice so workers have a dining option given closure of the Food Court.

“The backstretch workers are our main focus right now,” MJC Director of Security Major Mike Singletary said. “Safety is a top priority (of the TSG 1/ST program), especially when it comes to backstretch employees.”

The MJC earlier announced that hand-sanitizing were placed around the barn area and also in the grandstand and clubhouse. Printed materials in English and Spanish regarding coronavirus are available in MTHA offices in the grandstand and track kitchen at Laurel. The MJC also circulated disposable thermometers to backstretch employees.

On live racing days, a MedStar physician will be in the MTHA Horsemen’s Health System office as usual, and emergency medical technicians, during morning training and afternoon racing, are on site each day. But due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the MJC and MTHA ask that patients with cold or flu-like symptoms go directly to emergency rooms and urgent care centers with testing capabilities. Before doing so, however, they should call 410-902-6844 for assistance and guidance on how to proceed.

The MJC as noted earlier has several empty dormitory rooms that can serve as quarantine rooms. Those who live in the barn area also can self-quarantine in their own rooms if necessary.

The MTHA staff will continue to keep regular office hours on the backstretch and in the grandstand.

The Centers for Disease Control believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

A primary form of virus prevention is regularly washing your hands with soap and water. In addition, avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; do not work when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash; and clean and disinfect commonly touched objects using cleaning sprays or wipes.

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