Horse racing will not be included in the government’s list of 12 sporting competitions that will see massive crowds return to stadiums.
Crowds are expected to return to horse racing on May 17th, as part of the government’s announced schedule, which will kick off on May 15th with the FA Cup final.
Despite the fact that the dates have been set, the question of how many fans will be able to return is still being debated, with estimates ranging from 4,000 to 10,000.
At all scheduled activities, thorough coronavirus monitoring will take place, and social distancing will be imposed within the crowds. The government aims to use the trial activities as part of its proof base for the UK economy’s large-scale reopening on June 21.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing.”
Several major racecourses, including Chester and Goodwood, have promised to host returning fans, and recent trial runs in September 2020 at Doncaster and Warwick were successful.
DCMS and RCA work closely together
Since the government first announced its plan to relax COVID-19 lockout restrictions on February 22, the DCMS and Racecourse Association (RCA) have been working closely on the topic of returning spectators.
Racing, however, will not be included in the DCMS’ proposed calendar for audience returns, unlike sports like football and snooker, as well as a host of arts and hospitality activities.
Despite this, according to the Racing Post, the president of the Racecourse Association has confirmed that the industry ‘shouldn’t be bothered’ about being a part of the initial pilots for returning fans.
Reopening of betting shops
The announcement comes after officials of the horse racing and betting industries, including the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), called for the Randox Grand National to be delayed to coincide with the proposed reopening of high street betting shops.
The famous horse race will be rescheduled for April 8-10 to coincide with the reopening of English retail betting venues on April 12. The Jockey Club announced last month that the race will be rescheduled to coincide with the reopening of English retail betting venues on April 12.