Today, our Premier, Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria is in a State of Emergency.
We must comply with the Government’s position and while it may be of an inconvenience to our lifestyle and livelihoods, it is imperative we get this right in the interests of our staff, families and our industry.
Over the weekend, breeders have reached out to Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria expressing concerns about the pandemic and what the plans are to manage the situation.
The recent global events are unprecedented. The situation is constantly evolving, as are our conversations, plans and advice.
The Inglis Easter Yearling sale and the Inglis Gold sale, as well as other sales are on our doorstep. We have contacted Inglis and Magic Millions and we will work with both sales companies to determine the best options for staff and horses, while considering Government advice.
In doing so, consideration will be given to the economic impacts of decisions.
We recognise it is important to you, that a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.
This afternoon, I met with the CEO and Executives of Racing Victoria, other Victorian Racing industry stakeholders, and Victorian Government representatives to discuss how we can best protect our people and our industry as we work through the crisis.
Breeding and racing’s collective objective is to ensure we keep our people safe and healthy, and minimising any negative impacts to the industry.
Some of the things that you as a breeder can do in the current climate, are the following measures:
- Where possible, staff work should from home remotely. Given the nature of our business is labour intensive, this is not always possible and therefore, we recommend farms to consider alternative working arrangements.
- Staff temperatures should be tested on arrival at work. Anyone with an abnormal temperature should be sent home.
- Any staff member who displays any signs of a cold, should remain at home for 14 days.
- Practising of social isolation and social distancing should occur, you can find full details in the recommendations below.
- Good hygiene methods should be engaged and avoidance of shaking hands and refraining of touching one’s face is recommended.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, here are some summarised recommendations to help you make your work environments safe.
- Install hand sanitisers in prominent places around the workplace.
- Disinfect surfaces regularly.
- Hold a briefing to discuss hygiene and general practices to keep everyone safe.
- Put up posters to encourage regular and thorough hand washing. You can download posters on the WHO website, click here.
- Promote good respiratory hygiene. Cough and sneeze into elbows or tissues.
- Open doors and windows for good ventilation.
- Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.
- Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
- Where possible, provide face masks, tissues and closed bins to dispose of tissues.
- Post-pone conferences, large meetings and other social events that are not necessary.
- If you are travelling, read the government advice for travellers, click here.
- Develop a plan if someone in your workplace becomes sick with COVID-19.
- Read the full WHO fact sheet on getting your workplace ready for COVID-19. Click here.
- Ensure all staff practice high standards of hygiene. Good hygiene includes:
- If you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- Disposing of tissues properly.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
- Practice social distancing:
- Staying at home when you are unwell.
- Avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential.
- Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible.
- Minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions.
- If you have a confirmed case, you need to self-isolate to prevent spreading it to others.
- If you are sick, wear a surgical mask. If you are healthy, there is no need to wear a surgical mask.
- Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university.
- Ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
- Do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home.
- If you are a confirmed case, inform your employer and anyone that you have come into contact with.
- If you develop shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.
As I have updates, I will communicate them with you. In the meantime, I do want to hear your opinions and thoughts on the current situation and I invite you to contact me directly on 0459 510 506.
Charmein Bukovec – Executive Officer