Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club has finally been permitted to allow owners and handlers back into Kennerson Park after months of limiting access to trainers alone.
The green light was given on last Thursday and came into effect at all greyhound racing tracks in NSW from last Friday. Monday marked the return at the Bathurst track.
Bookmakers are also allowed trackside.
While it's not business as usual just yet, Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club racing manager Jason Lyne said it's a massive boost for the club and its catering facilities to have more people back.
"It's fantastic. In the past few weeks, we were only allowed trainers in, so they're allowed to bring in the owners of dogs racing at that meeting plus catches," he said.
"There's a bit more of a vibe to the club and there's a bit more atmosphere at the club.
"With our layout, we're still kind of restricted about how many people we can bring into the club with all the protocols.
"We're limited with how many people we can have in the bistro and the restaurant, but we've got everyone pretty well spaced out and everyone is obeying the protocols.
"We need people sitting down when they're having their beer and we're doing things like table service too. It's working well."
Lyne said it was good to see some faces on Monday he hadn't seen in a number of months.
"It was good to see people back at the track, especially owners who don't have to sit at home and watch on TV," he said.
He said it's also been a challenging time for the club since March but said it's been lucky that racing can continue at Kennerson Park
"It's been a battle the past three months," he said.
"We've been privileged that we've been able to race. Protocols are fairly strict and we're doing what we have to, like taking people's phone number at the gate just in case there's an outbreak.
"I think it's a moving process. Every day is a different day. You don't know what you're going to hear tomorrow.
"Hopefully we'll be continuing to ease the restrictions as things move along."
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, both Greyhound Racing NSW and the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission have emphasised that they will be guided by the Federal Government and health authorities before making any decisions on the easing of restrictions.
This was evidenced by the removal of the regional zones from June 1.
The Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club has managed to deliver a meeting every Monday following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia and the introduction of strict coronavirus regulations.
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