British Horseracing Welcomes Safe Return of Racegoers

British horseracing is making final plans for the safe return of all spectators to racecourses from Monday 19th July. The UK government confirmed on Monday that the fourth step in the COVID roadmap would go ahead next week, allowing venues to return to full capacity with no social distancing.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have since announced their own rules and racegoers are advised to check in advance with racecourses in Scotland and Wales to ensure they understand the variations and differences in key dates.

Racegoers who have attended meetings since fans were allowed to return in May are thanked for their responsible behaviour before, during and after meetings. With English racecourses no longer having limits on capacity from the 19th July and the end of legal restrictions, all racegoers are asked to continue to act responsibly and to please observe the following requests:

  • Please vaccinate where possible to maximise protection to fellow racegoers and members of staff. Vaccination remains a key priority in the response to the pandemic.
  • Use the Government’s offer of free lateral flow tests; consider taking one before you travel.
  • Do not attend if you have symptoms or are in any doubt about your health.
  • If travelling to the racecourse via public transport, please adhere to the relevant guidance.
  • Respect the rules of the venue you are attending and check in advance with the racecourse to see what is required.
  • Wear face coverings in busy indoor areas or in accordance with the national restrictions for Scotland and Wales. (Check with the racecourse in advance if you are unsure).
  • Ensure you are familiar with social distancing restrictions where these apply (from 7th August in Wales and 9th August in Scotland).
  • Treat stewards with respect and adhere to their requests.

The racing industry has committed throughout the pandemic to work with national and local governments in England, Scotland and Wales to deliver responsible, safe events based on robust risk assessments. Racecourses continue to liaise with local safety advisory groups to ensure sufficient measures are in place to limit infection. With events taking place outdoors, racing has been able to keep the risks low.

The UK government has said it will encourage high-risk venues to use a system of certification to provide an additional layer of protection. Racing has been developing plans along with other sports in case such a system is required but at this point, it will not be introducing Covid certification on racecourses. Along with other sports, the BHA and RCA are working with DCMS to develop the detailed operational guidance needed to safely introduce certification.

The change in guidance across all three nations will lead to changes for participants attending meetings. These will be announced later

On behalf of the sport, David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association (RCA) said: “We thank all our racegoers for the responsible behaviour they have shown since they were able to return to racecourses and we are very excited to welcome back all racegoers from Monday in England and later in August in Wales and Scotland. As an outdoors event, people can have confidence in attending a race meeting in safety.

“Nevertheless, we encourage all to continue to follow the recommended advice and in particular, to check on any restrictions that are still in place in Scotland and Wales. The safety of our racegoers will always be our top priority.

“We continue to liaise with our colleagues from other major sports and local and national authorities to ensure we are all operating to the highest levels of public safety. That includes planning for a system of COVID certification should that be required.”

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