In view of the worsening COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (the Club) has conducted a public health risk assessment of its business operations and decided to take the following measures to protect its employees and customers.
Closure of several Off-Course Betting Branches and precautionary measures
Having reviewed the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in certain local communities in Hong Kong, the Club has decided to close 7 off-course betting branches (OCBBs) from 13 July until further notice. The locations of the affected OCBBS can be found in our press release of 12 July as well as on our website. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 developments and decide whether more OCBBs are required to temporarily suspend its business.
Regarding the OCBBs that are still open, the services will be limited to cashing-in of vouchers or winning tickets, betting accounts deposits and withdrawal (13 July), with the addition of selling racing tickets (14 July) and football (from 16 July onwards). All the aforementioned services will be provided behind the service counter to uphold a more stringent control of social distancing. We will continue to monitor the traffic and potential crowding issues. Stringent public health measures including body temperature scanning, mask-wearing and social distancing will continue to be implemented in the OCBBs.
Postponement of the resumption of Mark 6 draws
We fully understand that our customers are looking forward to the resumption of the Mark Six draws which has been suspended since 1 February this year. It was also our original plan to resume the draw on 21 July. However, the latest worrying development of the COVID-19 situation does not facilitate us to resume Mark Six draws as scheduled. This is because there used to be 400,000 to 500,000 customers visiting our OCBBs to purchase Mark Six tickets for every draw, in contrast to approximately 130,000 customers for each racing pre-sale. This heavy traffic will pose a serious public health to our OCBBs under the current worsening COVID-19 situation. We would like to ask for the understanding of our customers that we have decided to postpone the resumption of Mark Six draws until further notice.
Cancellation of the Champions Awards Ceremony and Dinner
To celebrate the success and achievements of Hong Kong’s world-class horses, trainers and jockeys during the 2019- 2020 season, it was the plan of the Club to organise the annual Champions Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Rosewood Hotel on 16 July. Having reviewed the latest COVID-19 situation as well as the call from the Government and medical experts to avoid gathering event, the Club has decided to cancel the ceremony and dinner function which are anticipated to involve 180 guests.
We are looking into an alternate format that enables us to continue the presentation of the awards to the relevant horse owners, trainers and jockeys to recognise their outstanding achievements and contributions to Hong Kong’s racing during the 2019-20 season without compromising public health. We will make further announcement as soon as possible.