World Equestrian Center COVID-19 Guidelines and Mitigation Protocols

The World Equestrian Center – Ocala is committed to running safe and controlled sports and lays out the following guidelines and best practices for operation.  Below you will find a comprehensive set of guidelines we have created. These guidelines are in line with state, local, and federal regulations as well as guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Caitlin Lane, Horse Show Health and Safety Manager, at Caitlin.lane@wec.net

General

  • Screening and monitoring – Anyone who feels sick must stay home.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – A face mask or face covering is required for everyone while on competition grounds except while mounted on a horse. Necessary PPE items will be provided to all staff and officials and disposable masks will be available for exhibitors found to be not in compliance.  Face masks or face coverings are required even when you are alone.
  • Social Contract – By attending and participating, riders, trainers and grooms agree to follow the horse show protocol or will be asked to leave; they also agree to follow/respect community and local rules while visiting the area. Trainers will be responsible for distributing necessary protective gear as required by state and local regulations to all employees and clients.  We will have additional PPE on site if necessary.  If someone onsite starts to show symptoms, they will be asked to leave the venue immediately.
  • Social Distancing – All individuals must practice social distancing (or physical distancing) at all times while on the competition grounds by staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from any person who is not a member of their immediate household. Members of the same household are still required to wear masks or face coverings at all times while on competition grounds.
  • Social Distancing and Mask Enforcement – WEC Ocala staff and additional safety coordinators will monitor and have the authority to warn and remind anyone on WEC Ocala property of the necessity of social distancing. During a competition, Rule stewards will report non-compliance to competition management, and individuals who demonstrate non-compliance with social distancing or mask/face covering requirements will be promptly removed from the competition grounds by competition management. Stewards will document these offenses and include them in their report to management and the NSBA.  The NSBA and WEC Management will address all incidents of non-compliance.
  • Signage – There will be posted signage throughout the facility displaying applicable CDC, state, federal and local governmental safety advisories. Signage will also display restricted areas and important reminders for safety and Covid-19 protocols.
  • Communication – We will clearly inform all participants, officials and competition personnel of safeguards implemented for their protection against spreading COVID-19 by providing them with a list of such measures. Updates and competition information will be included in the prize lists, schedules and will be readily available through the website, horseshowing.com and the WEC app.

Venue Access

  • Each horse may be accompanied by a rider, trainer, groom, and rider’s immediate family members of the same household.
  • Venue access will be granted to those individuals who are directly involved with the competition. These capacities include competition staff, media, vendors, volunteers, and support personnel i.e.: vets, farriers, etc.
  • Public access and spectators may be prohibited in certain areas until further notice. We will evaluate this regulation on a weekly basis based on current conditions with the pandemic.
  • Individuals will be required to sign a COVID-19 waiver to enter the venue. Wristbands may be provided to identify those who have signed the waiver.
  • You also may not enter the facility if any of the following apply:
    • Anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms,
    • Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days,
    • Anyone who has tested positive outside of the past 14 days, but is still symptomatic, or
    • Or anyone who has been in close contact* with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days (exception: Healthcare personnel who have treated patients using appropriate medical grade PPE during the course of performing professional duties are exempted from this restriction.
    • * Close Contact –“Close contact” as defined by the CDC is someone who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two (2) days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two (2) days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. It is important to note that close contact has occurred even if one, or both individuals were wearing a mask. (Refer to CDC FAQ). Anyone who has been in contact with an individual who is confirmed or suspected to be COVID19-positive should quarantine in accordance with CDC Guidelines.
  • It is strongly recommended that if people travel together in the same vehicle to a competition, they should take their temperature prior to getting into the vehicle to ensure no one travels to the competition with an elevated temperature.
  • Competition organizers will restrict access to competition grounds in accordance with state and local travel and quarantine restrictions.

 Competition and Practice Areas

  • There will be posted orders of go for certain classes. Priority rings will be established based on daily numbers and time constraints and will be communicated to riders/trainers. Ingate communications will be thorough and frequent updates can be found on the app or horseshowing.com.  If needed entries will be limited to minimize length of day and overcrowding.
  • PA announcements announcing protocol requirements through the facility system and the app will be made to ensure exhibitors are aware of ongoing procedures and any new protocol.
  • Riders will be given awards following their events using a self-service method that reduces or eliminates hand-to-hand contact and maintains social distancing. Award presentations will be permitted for classes using social/physical distancing and face coverings will be required.
  • WEC Ocala staff will wipe down jump equipment throughout the day. Sanitizing supplies will be available in all warmup areas and in gates.
  • If necessary, exercise areas and schooling times (including morning schooling sessions in show rings) will be restricted to limit number of riders on horses to ensure social distancing guidelines.
  • In classes where riders compete together, we will determine and communicate to participants the maximum number of horses permitted in each competition area at one time based on the size of the competition areas and social distancing requirements.
  • Face masks must be worn during course walks. Rule stewards and staff will monitor course walks to ensure they comply with social distancing requirements and that there is adequate space between barn groups.  Management will schedule course walks in separate sections or make other adjustments as needed.
  • Schooling areas will be monitored and controlled by Rule stewards, schooling supervisors and/or ingate personnel. A maximum of two people will be allowed per schooling jump and on opposite sides. Jumps will be spaced to accommodate people on both sides with social distancing. Gloves will be provided for warm up jumps.
  • Mounting blocks will be available in schooling areas to avoid one-on-one contact between riders and grooms/assistants.
  • Seating areas will be limited and compliant with social distancing requirements. Seating will be sanitized regularly.
  • Golf Carts & Dirt bikes: All individuals MUST wear face masks while utilizing these vehicles.  The capacity of these vehicles may not exceed the number of seats on the golf cart (dirt bikes limited to two people). Converging on or around a parked golf cart, dirt bike, or vehicle is strictly prohibited.
  • If you are eating or drinking outside of a dedicated Food and Drink area including in golf carts, you must move at least 6’ away from others to eat or drink.  Your mask must be immediately replaced when finished.

Stabling Area

  • Stabling is configured to comply with social distancing requirements between groups to manage concentration of horses and people.
  • Access to stabling areas will be restricted to riders, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, farriers, and other essential personnel only. Trainers are required to manage their barn areas and minimize the number people in the stable area.  Riders from the same barn are required to respect social distancing.
  • Groups congregating are prohibited; people must practice safe social distancing protocols.

Show Office

  • The show office will be configured to allow proper social distancing and will be restricted to essential personnel only. Trainers are encouraged to designate one individual to visit the show office as needed.  Clear plexiglass protective shields have been installed in front of office staff.
  • Please process entries and necessary paperwork online. Daily adds and scratches can be performed online, as well as check out for the horse show on a weekly basis.
  • Exhibitors are encouraged to use the self-service stations located outside the show office before visiting a secretary. These self-service stations will be sanitized regularly by WEC staff.
  • The amount of people in the show office will be limited to one person per show secretary at a time. If necessary, lines will form outside the office and will follow social distancing guidelines with markers delineating 6’ spacing. Only one representative per barn may come to the show office at a time.
  • If needed appointment times will be utilized for individuals to be receive service or meet with the show secretaries.

Hospitality, F&B, Bars, VIP

  • Masks are required and must be worn when in food and beverage areas. You may only take your mask off when seated at your table and eating or drinking.  A mask must be worn when you are not eating or drinking.  Please avoid eating in groups whenever possible.
  • When a VIP area is utilized it will be limited to only those who have proper identification to enter. Masks/face coverings must always be utilized while in VIP areas.  Social distancing protocols apply in this area as well.
  • If you are eating or drinking outside of a dedicated Food and Beverage area including in golf carts, you must move at least 6’ away from others to eat or drink.  Your mask must be immediately replaced when finished.

Sanitation

  • All tables, chairs, common surfaces and equipment are sanitized routinely throughout the day with Fight Bac RTU hospital grade disinfectant.
  • Outdoor hand sanitizing dispenser stands will be placed around the facility in high touch point areas (to include by ingate, at entrance to schooling arena, inside schooling area, stabling, show office, VIP area, judges’ boxes, restrooms etc)
  • Gloves will be provided for those exhibitors who wish to utilize them.

Communication

  • WEC Ocala will use signage, radio, phone, e-mail and online communication methods as much as possible and clearly communicate important information frequently throughout the competition grounds. There are various speaker systems around the facility to communicate update and the WEC app will be able to communicate important messages.
  • Multi-modal communication strategies will be utilized for ongoing updates (signage, social media, website updates, email, mass texting app, etc.) to establish clear lines of communication between media team, event organizers, event staff, riders and their personnel.
  • All participants, staff and officials will be notified if the organizers/medical personnel learn of a confirmed case of Covid-19 at the event.

Positive Test Protocol

  • Exhibitors must notify WEC Ocala if they test positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of the competition.
  • If there has been an infected person onsite, WEC Ocala will temporarily shut down the appropriate areas or full venue if necessary to deep clean and disinfect (the duration of closure will align with CDC recommendations and in compliance with local health officials).
  • Competition Organizers will report confirmed cases including any relevant information on circumstances of transmission and contacts of the infected to assist contact tracing to local health officials within 24 hours.
  • Any competition delays, suspensions or cancellations will be communicated promptly to participants and the local community.
  • Competition Organizers will continue to monitor the WHO Mass Gathering for Sports Risk Assessment score and, if the risk increases, organizers will assess the need to delay, suspend, close or cancel the event.
  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms. Staff and participants with symptoms (based on self-assessment, screening etc.) will be sent home.

Responsibilities of Participants – Trainers, Owners, Riders, Support Personnel

  • Trainers are responsible for their entire group including riders, grooms, support personnel, etc. We ask that you please make sure your entire group is aware of requirements and prepared to comply with all facility protocols.
  • Trainers should provide thermometers, hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, and other PPE deemed necessary to your barn staff and other personnel and encourage them to use these items on a regular basis.
  • Participants should self-monitor their temperature prior to arriving to the competition grounds to ensure they do not have symptoms.
  • Trainers should have a support plan in place for any member of their team that is denied access to the event due to medical concerns. Do not mix equipment (tack, grooming supplies, lead shanks, etc.) and sanitize between each use.
  • Regularly sanitize golf carts, bikes, cars/trucks and stable doors, buckets, light switches, equipment in your barn area including tack, grooming, feeding, stall cleaning materials, surfaces in common areas, etc.
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