BHA’s latest announcement: UK Racing is well prepared for spectators’ safe return
UK racing is set to maintain very tight control over spectators who will be reattending its racetrack and hospitality venues. This comes after the government’s announcement that it will be easing the lockdown restrictions all over England starting from 3 December. This decision has been approved by The British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The decision, taken by the government, will be allowing “limited crowds” to return to tier-1 and tier-2 sporting venues, having been in lockdown since 1 June.
Confirmed by DCMS on Monday, crowds of up to 4,000 will be allowed to attend ‘outdoor sporting venues’ across tier 1 areas of England, with limits of 2,000 spectators for tier 2, and no fans allowed for tier 3 areas.
Working with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and The Horsemen’s Group (HG), the BHA underscored that racing venues are prepared to welcome back spectators safely – having held ‘pilot events’ with limited numbers at Doncaster and Warwick racetracks last September.
The BHA stated that its top priority would be to make sure that local communities residing near racetracks are safe. As such, stakeholders will be working with local public health officials to stop the transmission of the virus.
“We know the numbers are limited to begin with and not all venues will be allowed to admit spectators, but this is progress. I am confident that all our racegoers will follow the government’s public health guidelines when they return to racing and this will allow us to increase the numbers attending. We have always said that racing will act responsibly and we all look forward to getting back on the track.” Said BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust.
The government further announced last week that the racing sector would be receiving a £40 million winter relief loan for racetrack and welfare maintenance.
The BHA stated that it would be reviewing the details of the loan’s conditions, which are supposed to be published later this week, before agreeing on ‘an approach to using the available funding’.
Chief Executive of the RCA Charlie Liverton said: “I am grateful to all those across the industry and government who have worked hard to get us to this position and look forward to constructive conversations on owner attendance at racecourses. Owners and other participants have played a vital role in ensuring racing could continue behind closed doors and under tight restrictions. Their support continues to be valued enormously and I very much hope all owners will be able to be back on course soon.”