The Ballarat Cup on November 20, will be the last Saturday metropolitan class meeting in Victoria at which racing industry participants will be able to attend without being fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Racing Victoria has announced a policy that means every participant - trainers, jockeys, stable staff and race day officials - must have at least one vaccination by Saturday, October 16, to be permitted on racecourses on race day and at public training centres such as Ballarat Turf Club's Dowling Forest complex.
The second phase of the policy will require participants to be fully vaccinated by Saturday, November 27.
Owners also come under the new policy.
Although not permitted to attend meetings at the moment under racing industry COVID-19 restrictions, owners' access to the mounting yard will be subject to vaccination status.
The policy does not include crowds, which at the moment remain locked out of race meetings.
RV chief executive Giles Thompson said it had beenwidely acknowledged that the only way out of the COVID pandemic was to increase vaccination rates within the community to allow greater freedoms.
"Unlike other sports, racing operates on a year-round daily basis with a highly mobile workforce, so it is therefore imperative that we do our utmost to protect the health and safety of our workforce and of the industry, which has been able to safely continue over the past 18 months courtesy of strict biosecurity protocols.
"The advice from our chief medical office and our risk assessment has determined that mandatory COVID vaccination is the right decision for the health and safety of our staff, participants and industry in these extraordinary times, and that's a majority view that has come from our participants also when surveyed.
"Our participants want to protect themselves, their families and their livelihoods as social restrictions ease in the future and we see greater movement across the state and mandatory vaccination as a condition of entry is our way to do that," Thompson said.
A RV survey has identified 67 per cent of participants are already fully or partially vaccinated, with a further 15 per cent were intending to be vaccinated
Racing Victoria says the process to enforce the mandate will be discussed further, with consultation to occur with industry and employee representatives, including operational requirements and lawful exceptions.