The following letter was released from US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney on July 29.
Dear USEF Members and Competition Organizers (Licensees and Managers),
We are nearly two full months into a return to competition. While we are all grateful for the opportunity to enjoy competing again, the challenges and risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic remain part of our daily lives. Governors are beginning to pull back or even reverse reopening initiatives in several states as positivity rates are increasing.
We truly appreciate the diligence and cooperation of participants and organizers who have gone above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of their competition communities by adhering to the various state and local requirements, as well as the requirements and recommendations outlined in the USEF Action Plan for Licensed Competitions. However, USEF has received reports of non-compliance with and non-enforcement of the Action Plan. Every instance of non-compliance and non-enforcement not only endangers the health and safety of your fellow participants, but also threatens our ability to continue having competitions in this extremely tenuous environment.
The ability to keep competitions operating depends on every one of us, individually and collectively. It hinges on our cooperative participation in efforts to control the spread of the virus.
With that in mind, effective immediately, USEF mandates the use of face masks/face coverings at all times while on the competition grounds except when mounted on a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage or cart. The USEF Action Plan update, released yesterday, reflects this strengthened mandate.
In addition to the updated face mask/face covering requirement, USEF expects that:
- All participants will adhere to, and all competition organizers will enforce, social distancing requirements at all times while on competition grounds.
- Competition organizers will restrict access to competition grounds in accordance with state and local travel and quarantine restrictions.
- During a competition, Stewards and Technical Delegates will report non-compliance to competition management, and individuals who continue to demonstrate non-compliance with social distancing or mask/face covering requirements will be promptly removed from the competition grounds by competition management.
- Stewards and Technical Delegates will document and include in their report to the USEF all incidents of non-compliance, so that USEF can address any deficiencies.
We all share the enormous responsibility of doing our utmost to maintain a safe competition environment. It is no easy task. It can sometimes be uncomfortable, even unpleasant. However, in this significantly altered environment, these steps are necessary to keep our competitions as safe as possible and keep them operating. We cannot lose sight of the wide-reaching and devastating impacts facing our industry that would result from competitions being shut down due to failure to comply with mitigation efforts. If you are unwilling or unable to adhere to the COVID-19 requirements mandated by USEF or state and local agencies, please stay home and refrain from attending or operating USEF-recognized events until the pandemic resolves.
We continue to monitor and assess the pandemic impact, and we will keep you informed of any updates to our position as circumstances warrant or as instructed by the government and public health authorities.
The safety and welfare of our members and their horses remains our top priority, and everyone must do their part and take every step necessary to keep fellow competitors as safe and healthy as possible and to keep the competition environment open.
William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer, US Equestrian