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INTERNAL MEMO to Woodbine Horse People

February 22, 2021

To all Woodbine horse people,  

As we plan to safely reopen for the 2021 season, we would like to review some very important information concerning Covid-19 Safety Protocols in the Backstretch. Please read carefully, all the way to the end.

Due to Woodbine reopening during a state of emergency, ONLY essential personnel will be allowed to enter the backstretch.  Should you need to add a new essential employee to your list this season, please contact Robert Jordan, Sr Mgr Security, at

Essential employees include: Trainers and the Trainer’s essential staff, as well as Veterinarians, staff and approved contractors. 

For safety, Owners and Jockey’s Agents will not be allowed entry to the backstretch until further notice.

Racing Managers must contact Robert Jordan, Sr Mgr Security, at to apply for access to the backstretch. If you had access in 2020, you must reapply this season. 

Please note this important information from the Ontario Government:

Please be advised that the Ontario Government is expanding the current COVID-19 workplace inspection campaign to further protect workers and customers at essential businesses. Government officers will be visiting worksites to educate and ticket businesses and employees who are not complying with COVID-19 health and safety requirements as stated in the Reopening Ontario Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.  More than 300 Provincial Offences Officers will be supporting these blitzes across the Province, and we expect them to visit Woodbine frequently.

 It’s important to know that all Woodbine Entertainment COVID-19 policies and protocols have been developed to meet the requirements outlined in the acts.  If you and your employees are following the Woodbine protocols, then you will in essence be meeting all health and safety requirements outlined by the Provincial Government.

 Below are the risks associated for any employer (Trainer) and/or employee (backstretch worker) who doesn’t comply with the acts:

  •  All individuals, including employees and patrons, can be fined $750 by the Province/City for failing to comply with orders under the acts. The number one thing people have been ticketed for is not wearing appropriate face coverings – please remember to wear your face mask over your nose and mouth.
  • If a violation is more serious, a person can be charged with failing to comply with an order under the acts.
  •  If convicted, the court can impose fines as high as $100,000 for individuals, and directors and officers of a corporation can be fined up to $500,000. 
  • Both could also receive terms of imprisonment of up to one year. 
  • Corporations can be now be fined $1,000 for failing to comply with the orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
  • The maximum fine for a corporation on conviction of an offence is up to $10,000,000.

These tickets/fines will be presented by Ministry Inspectors, Local Bylaw Officers and/or Police Officers.  Please do not confuse this with any ticketing made by Woodbine Security, as we will still be managing and ensuring compliance with our COVID-19 policies and protocols on the backstretch. 

 It is each Trainer’s responsibility to inform and monitor employees as you are liable for them and yourself should a fine be issued.

Reminder – Woodbine Protocols-We must all do our part to keep the horses cared for and stay racing.

  1. Daily Covid-19 Screening Form to be completed each day before entering the backstretch. 
  2. Everyone must answer truthfully. We are all responsible for keeping racing going.
  3. If you are feeling unwell, do not come to work.
  4. Masks are mandatory upon arrival at the East Gate and thereafter.  Balaclavas and bandanas are no longer effective and must be worn with a cotton or paper mask covering the nose and mouth underneath.  Please contact the Stabling Office if you need help sourcing masks for your staff.
  5. The majority of people are very respectful to Woodbine Security doing their jobs to keep people safe, but those who are not, will be trespassed.
  6. Frequent handwashing/hand sanitizing.
  7. Keep a minimum of 6 ft (2M) apart from others.

Trainers, you are reminded to have an emergency staffing plan for your barn, should one of your employees test positive and others are deemed exposed.  Please make these arrangements at the beginning of the season, so this plan is in place to care for the horses until testing/quarantine is completed.  Should you need assistance finding helping hands, please contact the HBPA as you are creating your emergency plan.

Any trainers with help returning from outside the Province will need to follow protocols before returning to Woodbine.  Separate email to follow for those returning from outside of Ontario. 

Woodbine had an exemplary COVID-19 health and safety record during the 2020 race season thanks to all of you.  Let’s continue these safe practices as we start our 2021 season and allow our incredible racing program to be our number one story the entire season through.

Any questions, please reach out to the Race Office or Stabling Office. 

Stay well, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you back soon.

Thank you,