'Travel letter' available for backstretch workers

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, in light of Gov. Larry Hogan's March 30 stay-at-home executive order related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, is supplying letters to backstretch employees who travel to and from Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course for work.

The letter states the individual is an employee of a Thoroughbred trainer based at one of the racetracks. The daily care of racehorses is considered an essential activity.

The letter will be available at the stable gates at both tracks and is available via download here

Grant, loan programs available for COVID-impacted businesses

Various state and federal stabilization programs have been made available to small businesses in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Several target small businesses, and the parameters appear to pertain to horseracing participants such as trainers, owners and farm owners.

Under a March 23 executive order from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, horse care, boarding facilities and other operations that provide self-care for privately-owned horses—stable areas and training centers—are considered essential businesses and should continue operations while implementing safety measures that promote social distancing and other best practices.

The following is an outline of some of the financial stabilization programs, though each business through tax advisers and bookkeepers must determine whether it qualifies for relief.

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MJC issues COVID-19 backstretch protocols

The Maryland Jockey Club has issued the following backstretch protocols in regard to coronavirus (COVID-19). It is requested that everyone follow the protocols for the health and safety of our backstretch community.

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MJC launches Wellness Committee to assist backstretch workers

The Maryland Jockey Club, as part of its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, has launched a Wellness Committee to check in on those employed on the backstretch.

Major Mike Singletary, MJC Director of Security, said a couple of hospitality employees who are fluent in Spanish were deployed to walk around the barn area and visit grooms to ensure their needs are being met and to check on their health. MJC health officials will also be taking temperatures.

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Horsemen’s COVID-19 Statement

On March 13, 2020, a staff member exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and was diagnosed as being positive. This individual was last on the premises of Laurel Park on March 8, 2020.

Based on this information, we contacted the Baltimore County Department of Health for information and were advised that there was no risk of exposure to the Maryland thoroughbred racing community or our staff. Nonetheless, we notified all those who were around this staff member, then closed and disinfected the staff member’s work area. The staff member’s period of self-quarantine has expired and no one else has exhibited symptoms of the virus or tested positive.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call MTHA Racetrack Operations Director Diana Pinones at 410-902-6842 for information (in English and Spanish) on how to proceed.

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